Walden Pond - Concord, MA.jpg

BILLY BUDD, SAILOR AND OTHER UNCOMPLETED WRITINGS – Publication of the Final Volume of the Northwestern-Newberry Series: The Writings of Herman Melville

As of today, October 29, the paperback edition of “Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Uncompleted Writings is available on Amazon as well as the Northwestern University Press website. The hardcover is still in production, but should be available by the end of November. Click here for the NUP catalog page, or here for the book on Amazon.

It has taken a very long time (more than 45 years) to process the 1,000 or so manuscript leaves for publication in the final volume of the fifteen-volume Northwestern-Newberry Writings of Herman Melville series. It was just over 35 years ago that I sat daily as a graduate student from June 8 through August 6, 1982, Monday through Saturday, at the Houghton Library at Harvard transcribing the 335 leaves of the Parthenope (formerly “Burgundy Club”) poems and prose pieces contained in fifteen folders (including the folder containing “Pausilippo” removed by Melville for publication in Timoleon). From July 30 to August 2, 1982, I transcribed what I eventually came to realize was the theretofore unknown and untranscribed, “House of the Tragic Poet.” At the time, I thought surely someone had transcribed this piece previously. But as I worked in the following years on my dissertation with my advisor, Harrison Hayford, we finally determined that “House of the Tragic” poet was in fact a new piece. In the summers of 2013 and 2015, to prepare the reading and transcription texts for the now published final volume, I did a fresh literal transcription of these same manuscripts, as well as new transcriptions of the manuscripts of “Rammon,” “Story of Daniel Orme,” “Under the Rose,” and around 36 uncollected poems unpublished at the time of Melville’s death on September 28, 1891.

Many funding issues delayed the work needed to complete the final volume of the Northwestern-Newberry Writings of Herman Melville series. Sadly, the series General Editor, Harrison Hayford — who began the Northwestern-Newberry publishing project in 1965 — passed away in 2001. But happily by 2010 Northwestern University Press could commit the funds needed to print the final volume, and the editors of the final volume — Hershel Parker, Thomas Tanselle, Alma A. MacDougall, and I — found time in our personal schedules, over a five-year period beginning in 2012, to bring to a successful conclusion the project of publishing the final volume.

Completion of the volume was the result of a sustained collaboration among the editors. Hershel Parker, General Editor, wrote the “Historical Note,” coordinated the editorial process, and negotiated the restart of the project with Northwestern University Press. G. Thomas Tanselle, Bibliographical Editor, who has contributed to each of the NN volumes, was again tireless in the effort he devoted to this final volume. He wrote the “General Note on the Text, produced all of the editorial appendices for BILLY BUDD and WEEDS AND WILDINGS, proofed and checked for accuracy the components of all the other the editorial appendices (discussion notes, lists of emendations, all transcriptions, notes on individual pieces, related documents), and corrected and revised the heretofore standard reading and transcription texts of BILLY BUDD (Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr., Univ. of Chicago, 1962) and WEEDS AND WILDINGS (Robert C. Ryan, dissertation, 1967). Alma A. MacDougall has acted as the supervising editor for all the NN volumes published since 1982 [ISRAEL POTTER (1982), THE CONFIDENCE-MAN (1984), THE PIAZZA TALES (1987), MOBY-DICK (1988), JOURNALS (1989), CLAREL (1991), CORRESPONDENCE (1991), and PUBLISHED POEMS (2009)]. For this final volume, Alma served as Executive Editor and reviewed for accuracy all reading and transcription texts, historical notes, discussion notes, emendation lists, illustrations, created the index, and prepared the final printer’s copy for the press.

Hershel Parker, who succeeded Harrison Hayford as the series General Editor, suggested that we might think of the publication of the final volume as a birthday present for Harry Hayford on what would have been, on November 1st, his 101st birthday. Happy Birthday, Harry!

Harrison Hayford

Share

Kant Confessed His Suspicions about the Limitations of His System, but Persisted Anyway

Immanuel Kant

It is a mark of courage or at least bold if not heroic confidence that Kant forged ahead with his attempt to describe the mechanisms and functions of human cognition, even though he suspected that some of the descriptive ideas he invented would probably never be scientifically verified.

In a section of the Critique of Pure Reason, titled “The Schematism of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding” (chapter 1 of book 2 of the “Transcendental Analytic”) he wrote:

This schematism of our understanding, in its application to appearances and their mere form, is an art concealed in the depths of the human soul, whose real modes of activity nature is hardly likely ever to allow us to discover, and to have open to our gaze.

Preceding this pessimistic observation, Kant had been explaining his hypothesized “schema” as rules for how to conjoin or link an a priori concept that is not dependent on sensual experience with an object of perception obtained through the senses. He uses several examples to illustrate. With the example of a triangle he asserts that associating the concept of triangle with an empirically apprehend image of a triangle is effected by means of set of innate rules or instructions that he calls a schema. A “schematism” according to Kant is an application of a set of rules whereby a pure, a priori concept of understanding such as space, time, triangle, or number is correlated with an empirically constituted object or idea.

But in the interjected “aside” to the reader quoted above, Kant expresses his suspicion that “nature is hardly likely ever to allow us to discover” the “real modes of activity” that constitute the functioning of those schema, or rules for linking the inner, mental world of pure concepts with sensibly perceived objects or empirically derived ideas.

Kant may have been trying with his schema — sets of rules for linking a priori concepts with sensually perceived objects — to (among other things) heal the body/mind split of Descartes. If Kant was right about “nature” being likely to never allow us to “gaze” upon schema, then neuroscientists who today address the hard problem of consciousness by mapping the areas of the brain that correlate with subjectively reported states of consciousness (qualia), observed behavior, or visible correlates of autonomic nerve activity, these neuroscientists may then, like Kant, worry that they too will likely never succeed in actually “gazing” on the mechanisms (schema, rules) that link inner consciousness experience with the exterior world of things.

More than 230 years following the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, many philosophers and cognitive scientists working with or following the ideas of philosophers like Daniel Dennett, prefer not to invent and use terms or ideas like Kant’s “schema” — the hypothesized (invisible, postulated, unverifiable) rules for how we link or associate inner concepts with perceived objects. They avoid and argue against using scientifically unverifiable ideas or hypotheses. They, like Dennett, will for the sake of argument deign to take up for discussion ideas that are not susceptible to empirical proof (cf. the ether and phlogiston hypotheses), but then, after discussing and exposing their vacuousness and unusability, summarily drop them, and urge others to do the same.

Daniel Dennett

Knowing what terms or ideas to avoid using in attempting scientifically to solve the riddle and mystery of consciousness is important. Knowing what not to do or think is progress. But the hard problem of consciousness (what is like to be somethingqualiaJohn Searle’s Chinese roomMary the color-blind super scientist) is still unsolved. Notwithstanding his occasional use of non-verifiable ideas like “schema” and “schematism,” Kant’s attempts in the Critique to heal the mind-body split deduced by René Descarte in his Meditations, argue against the empirical skepticism expressed by David Hume in his Treatise and Enquiry, and correct or balance the radical empiricism of John Locke’s Essay surely contain many useable ideas that can be “operationalized” by neuroscientists, cognitive researchers, and philosophers of consciousness in their attempt to solve, understand, and explain the “hard problem” of consciousness.

Robert Paul Wolff

Robert Paul Wolff

A book published many years ago by Robert Paul Wolff, Kant’s Theory of Mental Activity: A Commentary on the Transcendental Analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason (Harvard University Press, 1963; Kindle [Society for Philosophy and Culture, 2013]) is the best commentary I have yet read on Kant’s Critique. Wolff has also recorded and published on YouTube a very helpful nine-part lecture series on the Critique.

 

Share

Publication of the Final Volume of the Fifteen-Volume Northwestern-Newberry Edition of the Writings of Herman Melville

Last month G. Thomas Tanselle, Alma A. MacDougall, Hershel Parker, and I at long last completed editing the nearly 1,000 manuscript leaves that comprise the final volume (vol. 13) of the fifteen-volume Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Writings of Herman Melville — “Billy Budd, Sailor” and Other Uncompleted Writings. The late Harrison Hayford had begun work on this final volume, but was unable to complete it before passing away in December 2001. The publication of this volume completes the publishing project begun in the mid-1960s by Hayford. Scores of editors have been involved in the publication of the fifteen-volume series. This final volume includes reading texts and new or corrected literal transcriptions of all the uncompleted prose and verse writings that Melville left in manuscript when he passed away on September 28, 1891. Work on this final volume has been ongoing for more than 35 yearsNorthwestern University Press will publish the volume in September 2017. Click here  for the NUP Catalog listing and description.

Share

Calendar

August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Archives

Politics, Culture, Philosophy

  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Mike Flynn quick to distance himself from Qanon-tied eventRachel Maddow shares the news that after reports by Mother Jones and others of Michael Flynn's [...]

Nuclear monitoring stations fall silent after Russian explosionMichael R. Gordon, national security correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, talks with Rachel Ma [...]

August explosion not Russia's first nuclear incident this summerRachel Maddow points out that this month's nuclear incident in Nyonoksa is not Russia's fi [...]

Iceland mourns loss of glacier destroyed by climate changeRachel Maddow reports on Iceland's Okjokull glacier, which has lost its status as a glacier as [...]

To advise patients fully, Planned Parenthood rejects federal cashAlexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, talks with Rachel Maddow abou [...]

Americans in every state rally for gun reform as Trump wafflesRachel Maddow reports on gun reform protests taking place in every single U.S. state over the weeken [...]

Massive crowds flood Hong Kong streets protesting for democracyRachel Maddow reports on nearly a quarter of the entire population of Hong Kong taking the streets d [...]

United States descends into new nuclear arms race with RussiaRachel Maddow shares new Defense Department video of a missile test launch that follows the abandonm [...]

Hospital staff not told of nuclear risk of Russian blast: reportsRachel Maddow shares the latest reporting on the mysterious nuclear emergency that left several peop [...]

Roger Stone haunted by his own words (and movie fandom) at trialJoyce Vance, former U.S. attorney, talks with Rachel Maddow about whether a clip from the movie The [...]

By Gregory Paul | 11 October 2003Free Inquiry magazine “You know what happens when atheists take ove [...]

By Mary Papenfuss Read at HuffPost The mother “had this lost look,” an immigrant rights advocate tol [...]

“So I think, you know, I think our family was involved in helping to launch a horror show.” –Frank S [...]

After years of a hateful lunatic in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

The El Paso shooter said he wanted to stop the immigrant “invasion” of America. As recently as May, [...]

Killer clowns are taking over: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolson [...]

Trump sees the presidency as a giant megaphone for stoking racial and ethnic hatred. He seeks to dem [...]

Trump’s disgusting comments telling Americans to “go back where they come from” is classic racism. M [...]

Frank Schaeffer: From Helping Found the Religious Right to Embracing Uncertainty and Finding Communi [...]

This July 4th Trump’s goons on Border Patrol are using a secret Facebook page joking about children [...]

After having been unjustly convicted of the bogus charges brought against him in that most infamous [...]

The Philosophy of Christopher NolanEver since I first watched Memento and its fascinating exploration of the philosophical question of [...]

Voltaire - CandideThe philosophical problem of evil—the question of how the existence of unnecessary suffering is poss [...]

Arrow - A Celebration of LoveLife is hard enough as it is. Existence, in many ways, is suffering. Obviously, some have it much wo [...]

If 'Despacito' Were Written by an Evo-Devo BiologistIf you are a geek, you are likely to get excited over things others might find boring, laughable, la [...]

James Baldwin Debates William F. BuckleyJames Baldwin, the great essayist, poet, civil rights activist, writer and orator, would have turned [...]

Genius of the Ancient World - SocratesFew figures have been more important and influential in the history of civilization than the ancient [...]

The PresocraticsAnyone who's ever contemplated Raphael's celebrated painting The School of Athens knows th [...]

President Obama's Farewell AddressAs his presidency sadly comes to an end, President Obama delivered last night what is sure to become [...]

John Berger - Ways of SeeingArt critic John Berger's recent death has left a huge void in the world of art appreciation. Wh [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc

  • Two Truths News
  • Natural Living-Healthy Planet

In our Weekend Reader newsletter, Ray Buckner explores how following desire allows us to show up as [...]

As creator of The "Vagina Monologues," Eve Ensler changed the way the world regards women’ [...]

To truly wake up, writes Kimberlyn David, we must expand our understanding of freedom like the Buddh [...]

Natalie Goldberg wanted to survive, but so did the cancer inside her. Drastic action was required. T [...]

The teachers are asked how a meditator deals with episodes of depression. The post How does a medita [...]

From The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu's new book, "The Book of Joy," we get [...]

In this Lion’s Roar archive article, Rick Bass looks at Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day,” which asks, [...]

As owner of a sacred object, we’re obliged to preserve its power for future generations, says art co [...]

Nothing warms the heart like a loving hug. To make the experience even deeper and more healing, Thic [...]

In our Weekend Reader newsletter, Rod Meade Sperry looks at how we can contribute toward a world wit [...]

(Natural News) If you are a parent who chooses not to vaccinate your children because of the fact th [...]

(Natural News) When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, med [...]

(Natural News) As pandering politicians go, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has to be one of the bes [...]

(Natural News) The so-called “mainstream” media doesn’t really do journalism in the traditional sens [...]

(Natural News) Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s virtue signalling trip on a $4 million dollar yacht [...]

(Natural News) Media Research Center President Brent Bozell on Monday concluded that the New York Ti [...]

(Natural News) Scientists continue to explore the potential benefits of herbal remedies like Chinese [...]

(Natural News) The use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat various conditions is gaining [...]

(Natural News) Patients who have Lyme disease might have an alternative to the ineffective antibioti [...]

Science News

  • The Universe Today
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Science Daily
  • Sky and Telescope

The ExoMars 2020 mission hit another snag recently when a high-altitude parachute test resulted in d [...]

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by me at the CosmoQuest blog. Click here to read Carnival of [...]

The eerie, hellish glow coming from the Moon may seem unreal in this image, since it’s invisible to [...]

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission spent two years at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasim [...]

What, exactly, is the inside of a neutron star like? A neutron star is what remains after a massive [...]

CEO Peter Beck of Rocket Lab recently announced that his company will begin retrieving the first sta [...]

Even though the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is a monster, it’s still rather quiet. Cal [...]

When SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander crashed into the Moon, it was a bitter-sweet moment for Israel’s spa [...]

An international team of astronomers led by the University of Tokyo used ALMA to view 39 previously- [...]

It’s that time again! This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Pamela Hoffman at the Everyday Spac [...]

ISSYP demonstrates power of collaboration in physicsThursday Aug 15, 2019At Perimeter’s Internationa [...]

New grads, alumni, and instructors celebrate 10 years of Perimeter Scholars InternationalFriday Jun [...]

Perimeter mourns the passing of a brilliant rising star in cosmologyFriday Jun 14, 2019Chiamaka Okol [...]

Lena Funcke earns Max Planck Society award Friday Jun 14, 2019Perimeter postdoctoral researcher Lena [...]

Perimeter initiatives lauded by CCAEThursday Jun 13, 2019The Canadian Council for the Advancement of [...]

Perimeter Teacher Network educators honoured for outstanding pedagogyWednesday Jun 12, 2019Karen Ken [...]

Jaume Gomis wins CAP-CRM PrizeFriday Jun 07, 2019Longtime Perimeter Faculty member is recognized for [...]

Anna Golubeva wins NSERC Brassard PrizeTuesday May 07, 2019Perimeter PhD student Anna Golubeva is ho [...]

New Simons Emmy Noether Fellows announcedFriday Mar 08, 2019Perimeter is set to welcome the next gro [...]

New Perimeter Institute Director among world’s most influential scientistsWednesday Feb 27, 2019Robe [...]

Biochemists discover new insights into what may go awry in brains of Alzheimer's patientsThree decades of research on Alzheimer's disease have not produced major treatment advances for [...]

Optic nerve stimulation to aid the blindScientists are investigating new ways to provide visual signals to the blind by directly stimulating [...]

Heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devicesAtomically thin materials could create heat-shields for cell phones or laptops that would protect pe [...]

Materials that can revolutionize how light is harnessed for solar energyScientists have designed organic molecules capable of generating two excitons per photon of light, a [...]

Type of brain cell involved in stuttering identifiedResearchers believe that stuttering -- a potentially lifelong and debilitating speech disorder -- st [...]

Insomnia tied to higher risk of heart disease and strokeData from more than a million people found that genetic liability to insomnia may increase the risk [...]

New molecule could help improve heart attack recoveryReparative medicine scientists have discovered a new compound that could shield heart tissue before [...]

Shedding light on how the human eye perceives brightnessScientists are shedding new light on the importance of light-sensing cells in the retina that proces [...]

Wearable sensors detect what's in your sweatA team of scientists is developing wearable skin sensors that can detect what's in your sweat. [...]

Best of both worlds: Asteroids and massive mergersResearchers are using the Catalina Sky Survey's near-Earth object telescopes to locate the opti [...]

Read more about the October 2019 issue of Sky & Telescope. The post Inside the October 2019 Issu [...]

NAME Unione Astrofili Napoletani ADDRESS c/o Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte Via Moiariello [...]

The post A Perseid, a sporadic and a Galaxy, 12th August 2019 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

Astronomers announce another planet around Beta Pictoris, simulations explain Jupiter's large a [...]

It's high summer and time to party — star party, that is. The RAC Summer Star Party offered fun [...]

The Osiris-REX spacecraft will sample one of four sites on the asteroid Bennu in July 2020. The post [...]

As nights turn chilly, the Great Square of Pegasus lifts up in the east, balancing on one corner. Fr [...]

Meet the white dwarf that defies all expectations. The post An “Impossible” White Dwarf Identified i [...]

Star trail images are a great and fun introduction to nightscape photography, and they're actua [...]

An August jaunt at dawn reacquaints us with the constellation Orion, the harbinger of winter. The po [...]