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Yale-NUS College

Humanities Division (Philosophy)

16 College Avenue West

#01-220 Singapore 138527

malcolm.keating [at] yale-nus [dot] edu [dot] sg

Areas of Specialization

Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of Language

Areas of Teaching Competence

Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, Classical Chinese Philosophy


June 2015 - current: Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College, Humanities Division (Philosophy)

January 2016 - current: Courtesy Joint Appointment to Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, National University of Singapore


May 2015: Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

  • Dissertation: "Speaking Indirectly: Theories of Non-Literal Meaning in Indian Philosophy"
  • Committee: Stephen Phillips (chair), Ray Buchanan, Josh Dever, Hans Kamp, Lawrence McCrea

2006 M.A. Philosophy (summa cum laude) University of Missouri at St. Louis

2000 B.A. English, Spanish (with honors) Grove City College


2. Controversial Reasoning in Indian Philosophy: Major Texts and Arguments on Arthâpatti. Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. (Edited volume under contract, manuscript in progress, anticipated May 2020 publication date)

1. Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Mukula's "Fundamentals of the Communicative Function." Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. (May 2019)

Peer-reviewed Journal Publications


7. "Metaphor or Delusion? A Mīmāṃsaka's Response to Conceptual Metaphor Theory." Philosophy East and West. (2019): doi: 10.1353/pew.0.0172


6. "(Close) the Door; the King (is Going): The Development of Elliptical Resolution in Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā." Journal of Indian Philosophy. 45:5, pp. 911-938.

5. "Metonymy and Metaphor as Verbal Postulation: The Epistemic Status of Non-Literal Speech in Indian Philosophy'', Journal of World Philosophies, 2:1 (Summer 2017).

4. "How Do We Gather Knowledge through Language?'' with Elisa Freschi, Journal of World Philosophies, 2:1 (Summer 2017).


3. "Thinking about Embedded Metaphors", Journal of Pragmatics. 88, pp.19-26.


2. "The Cow is to Be Tied Up: Sort-Shifting in Classical Indian Philosophy", History of Philosophy Quarterly. 30:4, pp.331-332.

1. "Mukulabhaṭṭa’s Defense of Lakṣaṇā: How We Use Words to Mean Something Else, but Not Everything Else", Journal of Indian Philosophy. 41:4, pp.439-461.

    • Reprinted in Jonardon Ganeri, Indian Philosophy, Vol 4, "Being and Truth'', London: Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Encyclopedia Entries & Bibliographies

An * indicates that the entry is subject to peer review.


3. "Pramāṇa.'' Invited contribution to The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion, eds. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro, Wiley-Blackwell.*


2. "The Literal/Non-Literal Distinction in Indian Philosophy," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). URL = <>.*


1. "Epistemology (Pramāṇas)" with Matthew R. Dasti, Oxford Bibliographies Online, Hinduism.*

Note: for a list of work currently in progress, please see Research.

Invited Talks


10. “Knowledge Beyond Sense-Perception: Inference in the Indian Philosopher Annaṃbhaṭṭa” National University of Singapore, Tembusu College, Fellow’s Tea, February 14 2019.

9. “Similarity Judgments in Kumārila Bhaṭṭa: Why is an Elephant Not Like a Haystack?” Nanyang Technological University, February 12 2019.


8. "Solving Poetic Puzzles: Mukula Bhaṭṭa against Ānandavardhana’s Theory of Suggestion." India International Centre, New Delhi. Part of Dhvani Workshop, organized by Mrinal Kaul and Abhyas Trust, March 2018.

7. "Metaphor or Delusion? Kumārila Bhaṭṭa on Figurative Language." University of Delhi, Philosophy Department, March 2018.

6. "Postulating Poetic Meanings: Arthāpatti in Mukula Bhaṭṭa’s Theory of Communication." Jawaharlal Nehru University, Philosophy Department, February 2018.

5. "Metaphor or Delusion? Kumārila Bhaṭṭa on Figurative Language." Ashoka University, Philosophy Department, February 2018.

4. "The Self is a Sky-Flower: Buddhists and Mīmāṃsā on Non-Referring Terms.” International Seminar, The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, India, January 2018


3. "Metaphor or Delusion? Kumārila Bhaṭṭa on the Status of Figurative Language." Keynote, Quadrangle Graduate Conference in Asian Philosophy, National Chengchi University, Taipei, April 2017.


2. "Knowing What is Ellided." Underwood International College at Yonsei University, Seoul, October 2016.

1. "Is Ellipsis Completion Knowledge? Putting Words in their Place through Postulation.'' Kyoto University Department of Philosophy, June 10 2016.

Conference Papers


9. “Kumārila Bhaṭṭa on the Metaphor of Self.” Yogācāra Studies Unit: Reading Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikā and Its Commentaries, American Academy of Religion, Boston,MA.

8. “Conventional Truth, Metaphor, and Meaning.” Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Session, American Academy of Religion, Boston, MA.


7. "Is Ellipsis Completion Knowledge? Linguistic Interpretation in Classical Indian Philosophy.'' International Conference on Ethno-Epistemology, Kanazawa, Japan.

6. "Putting Words in their Place: Elliptical Completion through Postulation.'' East-West Philosopher's Conference, University of Hawaii-Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.


5. "Mantras, Meaning, and the Mahāvākya: Explorations in Mīmāṃsā Pragmatics." Annual Conference for the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, October 2015.


4. "From Talking about Particular Things to Reasoning about their General Names: The Realist-Nominalist Debate in Uddyotakara, Kumārila and Śāntarakṣita." Annual Conference for the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, June 2014.


3. "Against Inference: Ānandavardhana on the Status of Suggestive Language." New England Association for Asian Studies Conference, October 2013.


2. "How Can I Know What You Mean? Implication, Inference, and Dhvani." Annual Meeting for the Society of Ancient Greek Philosophy with the Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science, October 2012.

1. "Lakṣaṇā and Sort-Shifting in Mukula Bhaṭṭa's Abhidhāvṛttimātṛkā" Pacific APA, Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, April 2012.

Other Conference Participation


2. Organizer, “Workshop on arthāpatti,” Yale-NUS College. Contributions to Major Texts and Arguments on Reasoning in Indian Philosophy: A Guide to Arthāpatti, forthcoming with Bloomsbury.


1. Eastern APA Committee Session: "Building Bridges in Indian Philosophy: Across Traditions and World-Views'", Panel Organizer and Chair. For the APA Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies.

Selected Seminar Participation


Book Manuscript Workshop, "Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy" (formerly titled Understanding Indian Philosophy) with Lawrence McCrea, Parimal Patil, Anand Vaidya at Harvard University, South Asian Studies Department.


Workshop on Rasa theory with C. Rajendran (Retired Professor, Calicut University) at Manipal University, Centre for Religious Studies, Manipal, India.


Readings in Pāṇini and Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya with R.K. Sharma (Visiting Professor, South Asian Studies Department, Penn State University) at the Yoga Society of New York, Monroe, NY.


Theories of Communication: International Summer School in Cognitive Sciences & Semantics sponsored by University of Latvia, Riga and McMaster University. Faculty: Elisabeth Camp, Ernie Lepore, Peter Ludlow, Dan Sperber, Matthew Stone, Deirdre Wilson.


Words of Wisdom: Toward a Western Terminology for Buddhist Texts sponsored by Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, at the Mangalam Research Center. Faculty: Carmen Dragonetti, Luis Gómez, Michael Hahn, Paul Harrison, Fernando Tola.

Grants and Awards


Competitive Internal Grant, Yale-NUS College

  • SG$11,000 grant for "Comparison in Hindu Philosophy," research on book about Hindu philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa (ca. 700 CE) during academic study leave (AY2019-20, semester 2).

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend:

  • Awarded US$6000 competitive grant for research and leading to the publication of a book about Hindu philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa (ca. 700 CE), which will include an English translation of some of his works. As part of this grant, I read Kumārila's upamānapariccheda ("Chapter on Comparison" in the Ślokavārttika or Extensive Verse Commentary) with John Taber at the University of New Mexico during July 2019.


Teaching Innovation Grant, Yale-NUS College:

  • Awarded SG$3735 competitive grant to support a a Philosophy Major impact assessment via student survey methods.


Competitive Internal Grant, Yale-NUS College

  • Grant for tenure-track faculty first books to support a workshop hosted by the Harvard University, South Asian Studies department on Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā translation and philosophical commentary: Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy.

Competitive Internal Grant, Yale-NUS College

  • Awarded a two-year, SG$49,500 grant to support an edited volume of translations and essays on the topic of arthāpatti, an instrument of knowledge in classical Indian epistemology.


JY Pillay Fellowship, Yale-NUS College

  • Awarded a two-year, SG$20,000 fellowship as part of the J Y Pillay Global-Asia Programme at Yale- NUS, a programme which enables the design and development of innovative academic and student programs that integrate Western and Asian ideas and cultures.


Travel Grant, American Philosophical Association

  • Competitive grant to attend and participate in the Teaching and Learning Seminar for early career scholars at the American Association of Philosophy Teachers’ 20th Biennial International Workshop-Conference.


Continuing Fellowship, Graduate School, University of Texas at Austin

  • Two or three students per academic year are nominated by the department based on major accomplishments and a well-defined program of research.


Billy Bob Draeger Graduate Research Fellowship in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin

  • Awarded from the College of Liberal Arts to humanities students based on academic merit.

Student Supervision

Helke, T. (Doctoral) Philosophy of Conditionals, 2016 - 2018, (Committee Co-Supervisor)

Clark, C. (Undergraduate) Capstone Supervisor, 2017 - 2018

Liew, K. (Undergraduate) Capstone Supervisor, 2018 - 2019

Tan, J. (Undergraduate) Capstone Supervisor, 2018 - 2019

Pedagogical Training and Workshops


August 23, 2018: Presented at Yale-NUS College Center for Teaching and Learning "Teaching & Tonics" session: "Starting a New Semester & Creating an Inclusive Classroom Environment"


Leadership Certificate in Inclusive Classrooms from UT Austin (Link to website)

  • Drawing from the literature which continues to show that a discriminatory climate negatively impacts students’ transition to college, sense of belonging at the institution and academic success, this leadership certificate seminar provides tangible elements of course design, planning, and processes considered with an inclusive lens.

Teaching and Learning Seminar: American Association of Philosophy Teachers’ 20th Biennial International Workshop-Conference (Link to website)

  • Participants in the seminar studied how to identify and select challenging and transformative learning goals and, by understanding the principles of integrated course design, will examine how to guide students to the successful achievement of these goals.

Teaching Experience

Courses taught more than once indicated in parentheses.

Yale-NUS College (Assistant Professor)

  1. Analogical Reasoning & Metaphor (2x)
  2. Classical Indian Philosophy of Language (2x)
  3. Debate & Reasoning in Indian Philosophy
  4. Doing Things with Words
  5. Philosophy & Political Thought 1 (4x)
  6. Philosophy & Political Thought 2 (3x)

Yale-NUS College Independent studies

  1. Introduction to Analytic Philosophy of Language
  2. Fiction and Fictionalism
  3. Sanskrit Language
  4. Vasubandhu's Triṃśikā or Thirty Verses (on Consciousness-Only)

University of Texas at Austin (Assistant Instructor)

  1. World Philosophy
  2. Introduction to Philosophy

Various Institutions (Adjunct Instructor)

  1. Moral Reasoning, St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX) (2x)
  2. Online Introduction to Philosophy, City Colleges of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  3. Online Logic, Elgin Community College (Chicago, IL)
  4. World Religions, Forest Park Community College (St. Louis, MO)

University of Texas at Austin (Teaching Assistant)

  1. History of Ancient Philosophy
  2. Honors Knowledge & Valuation
  3. Introduction to Philosophy
  4. Introduction to Philosophy of the Arts
  5. Philosophy of Knowledge
  6. Philosophy of Religion
  7. World Philosophy

Other Teaching Experience

  1. Logic, Johns Hopkins University, CTY Summer Program (Los Angeles, CA) (2x)
  2. Sanskrit Language Tutor, Private (Austin, TX)

Service to the Profession: Refereeing


Journal of Pragmatics, Sophia, Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, Philosophy East & West, Journal of World Philosophies, SAGAR: A South Asia Research Journal, Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Erkenntnis

Service to the Profession: Other

May 2020–present. Book Review Editor, Philosophy East and West

2018–present. Yale-NUS College Student Support Team (team of staff & faculty to assist student sexual assault survivors with resources)

2018-present. Advisory Committee on Language Studies, Yale-NUS College

2017-2018 Yale-NUS College Philosophy Café organizer

2016-2018. Research Committee, Yale-NUS College

2015-present. Undergraduate Academic Advisor (3-5 students per year)

2015-present. Yale-NUS College Sanskrit Language course development

2014-present. Contributor, Indian Philosophy Blog, a scholarly group blog

Professional References

Arranged alphabetically

  • Josh Dever: Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jay Garfield: Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Smith College
  • Hans Kamp: Visiting Professor, Departments of Philosophy and Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin
  • Larry McCrea: Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University
  • Stephen Phillips: Professor, Departments of Philosophy and Asian Studies
  • Mark Siderits: Professor Emeritus, Departments of Philosophy at Illinois State University, Seoul National University
  • Bryan Van Norden: Professor of Philosophy on the James Monroe Taylor Chair, Vassar College