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Arthur C. Danto

IT WAS A SNOWY DAY in January 1994 when I knocked on the door of Professor Arthur C. Danto’s office at Columbia University for the first time. He opened it and looked at me with his strangely squinting eyes. I introduced myself as the new guest student from Sweden. “Terrific,” he said—I should definitely meet his Swedish wife. And that very night, unlikely as this might sound, I found myself having martinis at Danto’s apartment on Riverside Drive, with his not-so-Swedish but delightful wife, artist Barbara Westman. They had just been in Stockholm, it turned out, invited by the Nobel Foundation, and had ended up at a wild party at the house of legendary art critic Ulf Linde. I was anxious to discuss my future at Columbia’s philosophy department—would I be allowed to join the meetings of Danto’s Heidegger circle? But my host preferred to query me regarding his eccentric acquaintance,

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