In Response to: The Color of Classics

I think the most brief, portable statement about the article and its subject should be that intellectual colonialism is a real thing; that colonialism is not the exclusive territory of peoples now identified as “white”; and that the relationship of power to certain cultures historically reflects distinctive capabilities that the given culture had and used. This combination of features should on no level be difficult nor unfamiliar to anyone who expects to hold an undergraduate degree from Princeton; and I don’t think it describes an existential crisis in what can be called “Classics.” Obviously, what merit there is to being able to distinguish something a “classic” versus “not classic” should be criteria immediately applicable beyond Greco-Roman history, and if it can’t or won’t be then that’s why the term “Classics” ought to go away. But the notion of “inherited intelligence” is pretty interesting, and why on earth would anyone want to dispense with that? The history and philosophy of science should always be complemented by the philosophy and science of history.

Malcolm Ryder ’76
Norfolk, Va.