It is with great sadness that I report the death of philosopher, art critic, and Why? Radio guest Arthur C. Danto; he was 89 years old. I am not qualified to write his obituary. Instead, I will simply remark that he was a pleasure to work with and that I learned a great deal from him before and during our recorded conversation.
When I first approached him to be a guest, he remarked that he didn’t “get around at all easily” and invited us into his living room to do the interview. What you hear on the episode then, is both Arthur and our engineer in his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was an intimate setting and a generous invitation that I will always be grateful for.
When asked why I created the radio show, I always answer that I want to bring philosophy out of the classroom and into the community at large. But there is another purpose. I also hope to archive the process of some of today’s most potent thinkers. We need to have a record, not just of their conclusions or polished arguments as presented in their published writing, but of their trains of thought, live, unedited, and unfinished. That is most certainly what we got with Arthur.
As you recall his work and reflect on the passing of this great thinker, I invite you to revisit episode 24 and hear his important, controversial, and challenging thoughts on the philosophy of art. You are welcome to leave a comment on the page or respond to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regardless, I hope that our discussion stands as a positive piece of his legacy.
As always I want to thank you for listening to Why? and to remark on what an honor it is to talk with all of you once per month. At moments like this, I am reminded quite powerfully what a gift the show is to me and how generous our guests and listeners are with their time.
Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Jack Russell Weinstein, host Why? Radio
Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Dakota
Director, Institute for Philosophy in Public Life