Arthur Danto, the End of Art, and the Philosophical View of History

This essay takes Arthur Danto’s end-of-art thesis as a case in point of a substantive philosophy of history. Such philosophy explains the direction that art has taken and why that direction could not have been different. Danto never scrutinized the philosophy of history that his end-of-art thesis presumes. I aim to do that by drawing a distinction between what I refer to as the common view of history and the philosophical view of history, and by arguing that we need the latter if we want to properly assess the plausibility of the end-of-art thesis.