Walden Pond - Concord, MA.jpg

Library of America publishes Herman Melville: Complete Poems

The Library of America edition of Herman Melville: Complete Poems arrived on my porch last month. Its texts are those of the three related Northwestern-Newberry Edition volumes. I was one of four co-editors of “Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Uncompleted Writings, the last and final volume to be published of the fifteen-volume Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Writings of Herman Melville. It was an honor to be invited by the Library of America volume editor, Hershel Parker, and Thomas Tanselle to write the “Note on the Texts,” a bibliographical essay included in each Library of America volume that describes the editorial procedures used to establish accurate texts. The LOA volume editor, Hershel Parker, wrote new, expansive explanatory notes for each of the poems, as well as a detailed up-to-date chronology based on his research for his two-volume biography of Herman Melville. This LOA volume is one that will very likely be bought, read, and consulted for many years to come. It is a happy coincidence that it is being published in the month and year of Melville’s 200th birthday, August 1, 1819.

Library of America - Herman Melville: Complete Poems

Library of America - Herman Melville: Complete Poetry

Library of America - Herman Melville: Complete Poems

 

Share

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

Calendar

December 2019
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Archives

Politics, Culture, Philosophy

  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Monday's Mini-Report, 12.9.19Today's edition of quick hits. [...]

GOP's McCarthy argues against first-term presidential impeachments"In modern history, we've never gone after impeaching a president in the first term," [...]

Why is a fringe pundit working as a senior State Department adviser?Throughout Trump's presidency, a variety of fringe have landed important jobs in the federal bu [...]

Monday's Campaign Round-Up, 12.9.19Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country. [...]

Trump highlights accused war criminals at Republican fundraiserOnce in a while, stories can be predictable and disheartening simultaneously. [...]

Speaking to Jewish audience, Trump uses anti-Semitic tropes (again)Earlier this year, Trump told RNC donors, "The Democrats hate Jewish people." It was ridic [...]

Following deadly shooting, Team Trump defends Saudi ArabiaTrump's obsequiousness toward the Saudis has become an unnerving staple of his presidency. [...]

Why Trump's promise of a Giuliani investigative 'report' is misguidedTrump made it sound as if a presidential emissary, back from an important mission, would soon releas [...]

Unwilling to present a defense, White House skips impeachment hearingsThe one thing Team Trump said it wanted most -- a chance to participate and present a defense -- now [...]

Why is Ted Cruz helping promote false Russian propaganda?Ted Cruz appears to be helping advance a disinformation campaign, crafted by Russia, for the purpose [...]

Why are the perpetrators of 9/11 STILL invited to America to learn from our military? The Saudi stud [...]

Leading social indicators are trending their way, but somehow it is only Trump who stands between us [...]

I dropped out of film school to edit video for the conspiracy theorist because I believed in his wor [...]

This is the best ever on TRUMP as a crook. Read, share, weep, VOTE!!! Read at Washington Post By Ric [...]

Based on their support for Trump, American white evangelicals are the only people in America who con [...]

By Richard SpencerNovember 27, 2019 at 3:56 p.m. MSTRichard Spencer is the former secretary of the N [...]

By Emma Graham-Harrisonand Juliette Garside Sun 24 Nov 2019 13.00 EST Read at The Guardian The inter [...]

by Nancy Jo SalesOriginally posted Fri 1 Nov 2019 02.00 EDT A report released by Common Sense Media [...]

Attorney General and Trump Personal Attorney William Barr recently made a speech at Notre Dame. Thes [...]

Sorry to be rude but this is just nuts: “As a Christian, I believe that Satan is behind this. He is [...]

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

Is “comfort food with zing” a contradiction? This spicy noodle platter on the cover of The Mindful K [...]

Wat Buddha Dhamma is a monastery of the Thai Forest Tradition, and was founded by Phra Khantipalo an [...]

The Buddha told a famous story about a blind turtle and a golden yoke to illustrate how rare the cha [...]

In our Weekend Reader newsletter, Koun Franz discovers a new dharma in the Winter 2019 issue of Budd [...]

Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and Laurie Anderson will perform at the Tibet House US 33rd Anniversary Benef [...]

The future of Buddhism will be decided by how we act right now, says Johnny Edward Dean Jr. He’s put [...]

Reflecting on his experience bringing Buddhism to college campuses, Aaron Stryker says engagement, i [...]

In the sixth and final issue in our 40th anniversary series, five young Buddhists look to the future [...]

I see inclusivity, change, kindness, and community, says Tara Umemoto. I see "Namo amida butsu. [...]

It’s not just about mind and meditation, says Ravi Mishra. To meet the needs of this time, Buddhists [...]

(Natural News) Sprouts are the young, thin plants that grow from germinated seeds. There are many ty [...]

(Natural News) Folate, often referred to as folic acid or vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient found [...]

(Natural News) Wild yam joins the roster of heart-healthy foods, as a study published in the Journal [...]

(Natural News) If you disagree with the medical establishment’s lies about vaccines, you have no rig [...]

(Natural News) The VAXXED II film bus is currently touring the country in promotion of this groundbr [...]

(Natural News) Back in the 1800s, local small-town sheriffs used to “deputize” posses composed of re [...]

(Natural News) The Democrats have come up with some goofy reasons for wanting to impeach President D [...]

(Natural News) It’s been quite the trip to watch the tech giants go from completely denying that the [...]

(Natural News) It is quite difficult to imagine a young child wandering into the laundry room, openi [...]

Science News

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

When astronaut Charlie Duke walked on the Moon in April of 1972 during the Apollo 16 mission, he bro [...]

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, and just one week later, it [...]

As of Dec. 4th, the Yutu 2 rover element of the Chang'e-4 mission had traveled a total of over [...]

Using data collected by Kepler's K2 observation campaign, an international team of scientists w [...]

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018. During the past year, it’s been imagin [...]

Astronomers have discovered a large Neptune-sized planet orbiting a white dwarf star. The planet is [...]

The Robotic Tool Stowage (RiTS) unit recently launched for the ISS, where it will be integrated and [...]

LIGO is so sensitive it can hear the quantum fluctuations of a vacuum. But by squeezing light it can [...]

A new study by a team astrobiologists shows how certain types of extreme bacteria thrive on meteors, [...]

Astronomers have spotted a 40 billion solar mass black hole in the Abell 85 cluster of galaxies. The [...]

Perimeter researcher wins prestigious AMS prizeFriday Nov 15, 2019Kevin Costello lauded for his effo [...]

Giacomo Torlai receives APS prize for outstanding thesisWednesday Nov 06, 2019A Perimeter PhD gradua [...]

Krembil Foundation elevates its commitment to Canadian-based breakthroughsTuesday Nov 05, 2019The Ca [...]

Perimeter postdoc wins prestigious €1-million research grantThursday Oct 17, 2019Sebastian Steinhaus [...]

Perimeter congratulates Canadian cosmologist James Peebles on Nobel Prize in PhysicsTuesday Oct 08, [...]

Perimeter researchers win Breakthrough and New Horizons PrizesThursday Sep 05, 2019Perimeter researc [...]

Inaugural program invites undergrads to experience life as researchersWednesday Sep 04, 2019This sum [...]

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 [...]

New research finds that killer whale grandmothers who were no longer able to reproduce had the bigge [...]

Researchers have discovered jet stream patterns that could affect up to a quarter of global food pro [...]

Researchers have discovered a new method for turning nearly any object into a data storage unit. Thi [...]

Slashed across the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus are four straight, parallel fissures o [...]

Reductions in air pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreas [...]

A crab's nervous system could help scientists learn what causes single neurons in the human bra [...]

Researchers have developed a more accurate method of measuring bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans an [...]

New research reveals how a week in the dark rewires brain cell networks and changes hearing sensitiv [...]

The first evidence of a giant planet orbiting a dead white dwarf star has been found in the form of [...]

Some stress at a young age could actually lead to a longer life, new research in roundworms shows. [...]

Meade Telescopes files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection after loosing an antitrust lawsuit broug [...]

The post IC410 Nebula with Tadpoles appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post A state of hydrogen appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post IC434, Horsehead nebula and surroundings, RGB and Ha blend appeared first on Sky & Tele [...]

Astronomers have struggled to understand the origin of the parallel fractures on Saturn’s icy moon E [...]

In 1967, astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell (1943–) discovered the first pulsars — cosmic lighthouses t [...]

This week, Jupiter is disappearing deep into the sunset, while Venus, having ditched Jupiter, is on [...]

Astronomers have long suspected that white dwarfs eat their planetary companions. Now, indirect obse [...]

The near-Earth asteroid constantly shoots out rocks, leaving planetary scientists perplexed. The pos [...]

In the first public release of data from NASA’s flagship heliophysics mission, scientists on the Par [...]