Lithuanians in the News
14th January 2018
International Recognition for Australian Lithuanian Philosopher Prof. Vytautas Doniela
Prof. Vytautas Doniela.
The outstanding work of Prof. Vytautas Doniela, a philosopher from the University of Newcastle, has recently been acknowledged internationally. A letter to the editor to the Lithuanian weekly “Mūsų Pastogė” introduces the work of Prof. Doniela to Lithuanian readers. It is reproduced below, courtesy of “Mūsų Pastogė”.

“Letter to the Editor, Your Lithuanian readers, unless they are astronomers by profession or hobby, might not have noticed a Lithuanian name in a recent work about the nature of the cosmos. Debates about, say, the origins and composition of the universe are not new. In fact they have become increasingly complex through the growing power of optical instruments on the one hand, and of mathematics and logic on the other. More precisely, when optical investigations tend to run into dead ends or self-contradictions or apparent limits, it is high level mathematics and logic that may offer new approaches and possibly new break-throughs.
Vytautas at Heidelberg.
The work on the foundations of logic by a Lithuanian, Prof. Vytautas Doniela, formerly of the University of Newcastle, is referred to in the latest of several volumes by Dr. David Seargent (in the series “Astronomers’ Universe”, Springer Internat. Publishers). In a chapter of his volume “Astronomical Theories of the Solar System and Beyond” Dr. Seargent compares and discusses the views on logic of Prof. Doniela and of Prof. Max Tegmark (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
With a soft spot for mathematics and especially for some of its strange problems, Prof. Doniela had naturally gravitated to philosophy and logic, and his early Ph.D. thesis at the German university of Freiburg was written on the relation of logic to ontology. As Prof. Doniela in his advanced lectures and papers at internat. conferences used to go into the logical problems arising re continuum, change, infinity and the like, it is not surprising that Dr. Seargent says that Prof. Doniela’s views “held a great fascination for [him]”, p.232.
It is interesting that Dr. Seargent’s career followed a somewhat similar path. After starting off as a young ardent astronomer (while a uni student he had discovered an unlisted cosmic body which now bears his name), his Ph.D. thesis was much more philosophical/logical, “Plurality and Continuity”. Moreover, when his thesis was published in book form it was dedicated to “Bill” – and Bill is short for Prof. Vytautas Doniela in the context of the friendly and productive company of lecturer and his senior and postgraduate students. And so, Professor Vytautas (Bill) Doniela, a Lithuanian, who probably does not care for the alleged beauty of heavenly bodies is a logician relevant to problems about the cosmos.

A mutual colleague, ex-Newcastle”

For further information:
Please refer to an interview with Prof. Doniela on this website - Community/ People/ Vytautas Doniela