The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn

By Giovanna Borradori; Rosanna Crocitto | Go to book overview

5
The Cosmopolitan Alphabet of Art

Arthur C. Danto

A philosopher with strictly analytical training, a militant art critic, a professor, and a columnist, Arthur C. Danto reflects the quintessential polyvalence and disenchanted cosmopolitanism, of the New York intellectual scene.

Like the many artists who have guided his long itinerary as a scholar of aesthetics, Danto arrived in New York just after the Second World War, leaving for good Ann Arbor, a city not far from Detroit where he was born in 1924. His early work as a painter did not survive the war, which he spent as an American soldier in southern Italy. The encounter with philosophy took him almost by surprise, at Columbia University, where he has taught continuously for more than thirty years, apart from a brief stay in Colorado.

His whole reflection, spreading out in a sort of philosophical encyclopedism that extends from the moral terrain to the philosophy of history, from epistemology to the philosophy of art, has as its propelling center an "aestheticization" of the notion of conceptual structure, oriented in a neo-foundationalist perspective. His interest in the points of theoretical intersection between art and philosophy reflects this position, which takes its cue from a creative elaboration of analytic philosophy.

The rendezvous with analytic philosophy, inevitable for any American philosopher of his generation, came for Danto in the Rocky Mountains, on the occasion of his first university appointment, at the University of Colorado. From then onward he would

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