Arthur Danto and the Political Re-Enfranchisement of Art
A recurring theme of Arthur Danto’s philosophy of art is that of the philosophical disenfranchisement of art. This is Danto’s version of the Ancient Quarrel between poetry and philosophy. In terms of cultural politics, philosophers – since Socrates met Ion – have attempted to demote the authority of poets (and, by extension, artists in general). Philosophers have sought to achieve this by means of a number of strategies – from the denial that art can provide knowledge to the idea that art is detached from the practical, including the political, life of the culture at large. Danto’s own ‘end of art’ thesis may be the most recent variation on this motif. However, even if Danto’s philosophy of art history contributes to the philosophical disenfranchisement of art, Danto’s philosophy of art can be interpreted as a way of re-enfranchising art politically.