Jehangir N. Chubb was a distinguished philosopher from Bombay, India who had a unique relationship with the Chapel Hill Philosophy Department. He never taught in the Department although he did teach classes on Eastern religion for UNC’s Extension Division and the Community Wholistic Health Center. When he arrived in Chapel Hill in 1975, he contacted E. M. Adams, chair of the Department, who invited him to become a visiting scholar. He was given office space and typically attended Departmental events, interacting with faculty and graduate students who sought him out. The smell of incense from his office often permeated the first floor of Caldwell Hall.
Dr. Chubb was born in 1910 and after passing the M.A. examination at Bombay University, he went to Oxford where he received the D.Phil. degree in 1937. He was in the army until 1946 and then headed the Department of Philosophy at Elphinstone College at the University of Bombay from 1948 to 1965. He was appointed Honorary Professor of Philosophy by the University Grants Commission from 1965 to 1969, leaving India in 1969 to move to the United States where he was a visiting professor at Temple University and Case Western University before relocating to Chapel Hill.
Dr. Chubb (he was never addressed by his first name by faculty or students at UNC) had a modest and unassuming manner, combined with a vast knowledge of philosophy as well as ancient and modern India. While in India he was elected General President of the Indian Philosophical Congress in 1966 and invited to give other named lectures. He wrote Assertion and Fact—The Categories of Self-Conscious Thinking (1977) as well as many other philosophical papers.
Interviewed in July 1981 by Sy Safransky, editor of The Sun Magazine, for an article entitled “The Silent Mind, An Interview with Jehangir Chubb,” he spoke warmly of his admiration for Sri Aurobindo, one of India’s great mystics. He donated books on Indian philosophy to the Philosophy Department. Ultimately, he left Chapel Hill to return to Bombay where he died.
In Memory of Dr. Chubb
Click here to read a letter about Dr. Chubb from former Philosophy Department Chair, Professor Emeritus E. Maynard Adams.
Click here to read a letter from Sally Smith, who has made a generous donation to the Philosophy Department in Dr. Chubb’s honor.
A photo on our website’s “People” page features Dr. Chubb at a Philosophy Department gathering. He is the gentleman in the white shirt, seated at the far left.