Philosopher Arthur C. Danto, Ph.D. '52, Dies at 89


Arthur C. Danto, M.A. ’49, Ph.D. ’52, Philosophy, passed away on October 25 in New York. Born in Michigan and a veteran of World War II, he began teaching philosophy at Columbia in 1951, was named a full professor in 1966, and became professor emeritus in 1992. He also served as art critic for The Nation from 1984-2009, and was editor of the Journal of Philosophy and consulting editor for various other publications.

Danto was a prominent art philosopher who penned influential essays on the meaning of art, the definition of art, and the end of art history. He often described his viewing of Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box sculpture in 1964, and his subsequent contemplation of what made it art, as a turning point in his life. He is the author of numerous books, including Nietzsche as Philosopher, Mysticism and Morality, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, Narration and Knowledge, Connections to the World: The Basic Concepts of Philosophy, and Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present, a collection of art criticism that won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for Criticism in 1990.

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