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Canon and Grand Narrative in the philosophy of history

Three recent thinkers, Arthur Danto, David Gress and Ricardo Duchesne, have proposed philosophies of cultural history that emphasize the importance of narrative, canon and Grand Narrative. An examination of their views will suggest that contrary to the postmodernist announcement of its death, Grand Narrative is very much alive. In this paper I propose a conception of Grand Narrative that accepts key postmodern criticisms but can still function in the ways Metanarratives traditionally function. The result is a defensible conception of Grand Narrative that is limited in its claims and purpose yet provides the organizing structure that traditional Grand Narratives have provided.

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