In 1965, Arthur Danto, a philosopher at Columbia University, argued that it is impossible to tell, when you’re in the midst of things, whether an event is going to be deemed “historic” by future historians.

If something happens — Russia successfully reclaims Crimea, for example, or Pete Buttigieg declares that he’s running for president — its ultimate significance will be determined by causal chains that cannot possibly be anticipated, and by an assortment of events that have yet to take place...

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