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of the manuscripts of “Rammon,” “Story of Daniel Orme,” “Under the Rose,” and around 36 uncollected poems unpublished at the time of Melville’s death on September 28, 1891.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

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Archives

Politics, Culture, Philosophy

  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Doug Jones built no-holds-barred campaignRachel Maddow points out that in addition to other factors like African-American turnout and women v [...]

Steve Bannon will find someone to blame for Roy Moore lossJoy-Ann Reid and Rachel Maddow discuss what Roy Moore's loss means to the political power of St [...]

Jones campaign leaves Alabama Democrats energizedAlabama State Representative Merika Coleman talks with Rachel Maddow about the enthusiasm she saw fo [...]

Breaking down turnout so far in key Alabama countiesNBC’s Steve Kornacki looks at statistics from majority black counties as results continue to come in [...]

Senator Booker: We cannot allow Roy Moore to serve in the SenateSenator Cory Booker talks with Rachel Maddow about the effort by the Doug Jones campaign to motivate [...]

Archibald: 'Roy Moore does not like to serve in government'John Archibald, columnist for the Birmingham News, talks with Rachel Maddow about the contours of th [...]

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 12.12.17Today's edition of quick hits. [...]

Rachel Maddow 12/12/17Watch the full episode of Tuesday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

Rachel Maddow 12/12/17Watch the full episode of Tuesday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

GOP lawmakers prioritize tax cuts over children's health programTax breaks for the wealthy are on Congress' front-burner; the Children's Health Insurance [...]

Can anyone have a reasonable discussion with white Evangelicals who voted for Trump and who offer no [...]

I recently had a chance to sit down with Sam Jammal, a former Obama Commerce Department appointee an [...]

In case you missed it, here is the video of my appearance this morning on AM Joy. We discussed how T [...]

Dear Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham, In the 1980s both of your fathers would have been shocke [...]

Alabama makes us uncomfortable, because it’s an accurate mirror of what lurks nationwide. Let’s than [...]

All in the name of “religious freedom”…and Trump’s judicial picks will be the sole arbiters. A GOP t [...]

His recent racist re-tweets have a basis in Theology I was part of in the 1970s-80s. The president o [...]

I’d like for you to take a little tour with me inside my new book Letter to Lucy: A Manifesto of Cre [...]

Trump’s Alt-“Americans” freely fantasize in print and on YouTube about their desire to execute liber [...]

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 [...]

Some Thoughts and Feelings on the Aftermath of the ElectionWhen I saw that anger, hate and bigotry were going to win two nights ago, I had to unplug for a whil [...]

The Philosophy of Marvel's DaredevilEveryone is familiar with the most obvious tropes of superhero comics: exciting action sequences, sk [...]

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump, and the Democratic Party went from White Supremacy to ObamaWhen accused of promoting racist beliefs of policies, Republicans usually argue that it was their pa [...]

Simon Blackburn - Plato's RepublicThe term Utopia wasn't invented until 1516, when Thomas More published his now classic renditio [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc

  • Two Truths News
  • Natural Living-Healthy Planet

Rod Meade Sperry invites you to consider how a repeal of Net Neutrality rules could stifle independe [...]

We review "Old Demons, New Deities: Twenty-One Short Stories from Tibet," edited by Tenzin [...]

Shangpa Karmaling has had three suspected arson attempts in one month — the last of which destroyed [...]

Wabi sabi — a philosophy with roots in Zen tea ceremonies — posits that beauty lies in what is flawe [...]

While scientific methods are useful, says the Dalai Lama, mind should also be studied through rigoro [...]

We review "Beyond the Self: Conversations Between Buddhism and Neuroscience" by Matthieu R [...]

What is the connection between Buddhism and secular mindfulness? Some people say mindfulness is just [...]

What do we know about the historical Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama? And who are these other Buddhas we [...]

My father was a caring and somewhat charismatic minister turned therapist. He was also a sexual pred [...]

The cause of the fire at Shangpa Karma Ling has not yet been determined, but a police investigation [...]

(Natural News) Chemotherapy is a pretty scary prospect, but a lot of people are convinced by their d [...]

(Natural News) Cinnamon may be the spice you need this holiday season as a new study finds that it c [...]

(Natural News) The agri giant Monsanto, commonly known as the world’s most evil corporation, is now [...]

(Natural News) Physical contact between babies and their caregivers doesn’t just foster emotional bo [...]

(Natural News) As wildfires continue to rage in Southern California, Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown and [...]

(Natural News) The popularity of organic produce has grown exponentially in recent years. There are [...]

(Natural News) Think you live in a free country? Think again: If you really lived in a free country, [...]

(Natural News) Fervent belief in global warming and man-made climate change is motivating some to pr [...]

One thing you can rely on about tobacco: It’s bound to give you cancer if you put it in your body. M [...]

Science News

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

The IAU just approved the names of 86 new stars, the majority of which are derived from Chinese, Hin [...]

What is the most wonderful time of the year? In my opinion, it is when the new Year In Space Calenda [...]

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brian Wang at his Next Big Future blog. Click here to rea [...]

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter) [...]

An international team of astronomers has created the largest map of the movements of galaxies within [...]

Using the Greenbank Radio Telescope, Breakthrough Listen plans to "listen" to 'Oumuam [...]

An international team of astronomers, using multiple observatories, have found the youngest and most [...]

A new study lays out why Venus doiesn't have a magnetic field like Earth's. Basically, it [...]

Massachusetts-based engineering company Draper recently filed a patent for a navigation system that [...]

The Space Debris Sensor (SDS) aboard the International Space Station is allowing scientists to chara [...]

Pedro Vieira wins Sackler PrizeTuesday Dec 12, 2017 Quantum field theorist shares $100,000 award for [...]

Myers makes "most influential" list for fourth timeFriday Dec 08, 2017 Perimeter Faculty C [...]

Perimeter cosmologist shares in Breakthrough PrizeMonday Dec 04, 2017 Perimeter cosmologist Kendrick [...]

Lieutenant Governor champions empowerment through scienceThursday Nov 16, 2017 Ontario Lieutenant Go [...]

Award honours Perimeter's impact on high-skills labour marketThursday Nov 16, 2017 Toronto’s Cr [...]

New research centre at Perimeter to probe universe's deepest questionsMonday Nov 13, 2017 Perim [...]

Subir Sachdev wins Lars Onsager PrizeMonday Oct 30, 2017 Subir Sachdev has won the Lars Onsager Priz [...]

Luke Santi Award winner lauded for service and scienceThursday Oct 26, 2017 Graeme Ko, a first-year [...]

PI physicist wins major grant to see if evolution can be predictedThursday Oct 26, 2017 As one of si [...]

New faculty to advance quantum matter researchMonday Oct 02, 2017 The research pursued by three new [...]

Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn and its ringsA Langmuir probe, flown to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft, has made exciting discoveries in the at [...]

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportationScientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for dire [...]

Life's building blocks observed in spacelike environmentWhere do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first app [...]

Suburban ponds are a septic buffetHuman waste accounts for a high percentage of nutrients consumed by some animals and plants in subur [...]

3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body partsMuch as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape [...]

Action games expand the brain's cognitive abilities, study suggestsThe human brain learns and adapts. Numerous research studies have focused on the impact of action vi [...]

Telescopes team up to study giant galaxyAstronomers have used two Australian radio telescopes and several optical telescopes to study comple [...]

Common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of seve [...]

Forest resilience declines in face of wildfires, climate changeThe forests you see today are not what you will see in the future. That's the overarching findi [...]

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wakeEngineers have developed a realistic proposition for creating a water cloak that moves water around [...]

NASA’s Juno spacecraft peeked under the clouds of the most iconic weather feature in the solar syste [...]

The habitability of distant exoplanets is dependent upon many factors — one of which is the activity [...]

The post Bright Geminid, 12th December 2017 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

If it’s clear Wednesday night and Thursday before dawn, keep a lookout high overhead for the "s [...]

The post Full Moons in 2017 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

Mark the date: December 13th. That's the night the Geminid meteor shower peaks. Highlighted by [...]

Good weather for imaging is about more than just the clouds! Even if it's cloud-free, you' [...]

The post IC443 SHO appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Asteroid 3200 Phaethon about 13 Million Miles from Earth appeared first on Sky & Telesc [...]

The post IC417 SHO-RGB appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]