Authors Zena Hitz

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I just finished Eric Adler's The Battle of the Classics, and wanted to say something about Joel Christiansen's review linked below. I am not sure what motivates the review (I speculate a bit below), but it gives a very misleading impression of the book. 1/x

The meat of the criticism is that the history Adler gives is insufficiently critical. Adler describes a few figures who had a great influence on how the modern US university was formed. It's certainly critical: it focuses on the social Darwinism of these figures. 2/x

Other insinuations and suggestions in the review seem wildly off the mark, distorted, or inappropriate-- for example, that the book is clickbaity (it is scholarly) or conservative (hardly) or connected to the events at the Capitol (give me a break). 3/x

The core question: in what sense is classics inherently racist? Classics is old. On Adler's account, it begins in ancient Rome and is revived in the Renaissance. Slavery (Christiansen's primary concern) is also very old. Let's say classics is an education for slaveowners. 4/x

It's worth remembering that literacy itself is elite throughout most of this history. Literacy is, then, also the education of slaveowners. We can honor oral and musical traditions without denying that literacy is, generally, good. 5/x
Before some so-called Events intervened, @MCHammer and I had agreed to talk about 1. the nature of consciousness and 2. the value of thinking. (I will later put up a thread about planaria, the beautiful animals that started off the conversation!)

argues here that new discoveries about the two-way relationship between microorganisms and brain function should change the way we think about organisms and

(Caveat: I am not a biologist or a philosopher of mind, so I welcome more expert interventions in the thread.) But here is how I see it. It is amazing to think that whole organisms (bacteria) may be a crucial part of human cognition and perception.

The difficulty I see with the piece is that its challenges to the notion of organism (early in the piece, where he argues that we are holobionts) don't seem to work. The mystery of consciousness-- and life-- is not just reactivity and flexibility.

There is a *unity* to my consciousness, just as there is a unity to my life. On the latter: when I lose consciousness, or die, do my gut bacteria change? Not necessarily, I'd guess. Nor am I persuaded that a single organism's life or death is a "spectrum".