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Professor, Department of Philosophy

Professor Emeritus



Anton Donoso was born in Philadelphia in 1932. He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Detroit in 1955. From 1955 to 1957 he worked on his Masters degree at the University of Toronto, which included studies at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (in history and the history of philosophy of the Middle Ages) under Professors Etienne Gilson and Armand Mauer. Donoso’s Masters dissertation was on “The Meaning of ‘Imitation’ in Aristotle’s Poetics.” His doctorate in philosophy came in 1960, also from the University of Toronto (during which time he also took a minor in Jurisprudence from Toronto’s School of Law). His doctoral thesis was titled, “The Relation of Common Sense and Science According to John Dewey.”


Dr. Donoso began teaching as an assistant in philosophy while at the University of Toronto in 1958. He joined the University of Detroit faculty in 1959 as an instructor in philosophy and was promoted to assistant professor in 1962. In 1964, Dr. Donoso spent a year as a Fulbright Lecturer in Argentina, first at El Salvador University in Buenos Aires and then at the Catholic University of Cordoba in Cordoba. In 1965, upon his return to the University of Detroit, Dr. Donoso was named associate professor. During the 1966-67 academic year he took a leave of absence from Detroit to teach at Fordham University. He returned to the University of Detroit in 1968 to be promoted to full professor and named chairman of the Department of Philosophy.   He served as chairman until 1971, as acting chairman in 1975-76, and again as chairman from 1976 until 1980. From 1980 to 1982 he was appointed chairman of the Humanities Division of the College of Liberal Arts, and then Associate Dean of the College in 1981-82.


In addition to these roles, Dr. Donoso served as advisor for philosophy honor students as well as humanities Masters students. He also served as Chairman of the Council of Administrators of the College of Liberal Arts and as a member of both the Curriculum Review, and Cross Disciplinary Committees of the Liberal Arts College. For the university at large, Dr. Donoso served on the committees for both Rank and Tenure, and Scholarships.


Beyond his dual role as teacher and administrator, Dr. Donoso was a frequent guest lecturer at various academic associations, universities, and even high schools (where he did his best to promote the teaching of philosophy). Dr. Donoso delivered papers at such events as the American Catholic Philosophical Association National Convention in New York (1969); the Eighth Inter-American Congress of Philosophy in Brasilia (1972); the 64th Special Libraries Association Conference in Pittsburgh (1973); the Fifth National Meeting of the Latin American Studies Association in San Francisco (1974); the DePaul Symposium on Philosophy in Chicago (1976); the Symposium on the Current State of Marxism in Omaha (1976); the Conference on Cross-Cultural Phenomenology in Toronto (1977); the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association in Chicago (1977); and many more.


Dr. Donoso was also a frequent contributor to academic publications, authoring articles and book reviews for the University of Detroit Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, International Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy Today, The Personalist, Americas, Hispania, and others.


Dr. Donoso’s writing covered such topics as “John Dewey’s Philosophy of Law,” “Jurisprudence Today: Naturalism Versus Positivism,” “Stalin’s Contribution to Soviet Philosophy,” “Philosophy as Autobiography: A Study of the Person of Miguel de Unamuno,” “Wilhelm Dilthey’s Contribution to the Philosophy of History,” “The Influence of Ortega y Gasset in Latin America,” “Freedom: Sartre and East European Marxists,” “Dewey and Ortega on Custom as the Origin of Law,” “Marias on Life and Culture in the U.S.A.,” and much more.


Not only was Dr. Donoso one of the University of Detroit’s most accomplished academics he was one of its most popular. Senior students voted him one of the Outstanding Teachers of the Year three years in a row (1963, ’64, and ’65).


Among his many interests, Dr. Donoso was an active member of the American Philosophical Association, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the Modern Language Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the Society for Iberian and Latin American Thought, the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, the Society for the Philosophical Discussion of Marxism, and the International Association of Law and Social Philosophy (American Section).


In honoring Dr. Donoso, the president of the university wrote: "You have engaged thousands of students over the years in the unending quest for knowledge.  You inspired them, you challenged them, you caused them to analyze and question.  You have given your students a great deal of your own time and personal resources to help them in their studies.  You have always been there for a student in need."


On May 16, 1996 Dr. Anton E. Donoso was honored with the title Professor Emeritus by Maureen A. Fay, O.P., Ph.D., President, University of Detroit Mercy.

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