And who offers to ship with the Phaedon instead of Bowditch in his head

from Herman Melville – Moby-Dick (Chap. 35: The Mast-Head) on Rap Genius

Meaning

The “Phaedon” is Plato’s Phaedo, in which Socrates ruminates on the afterlife, knowing that he will be executed the following day. “Bowditch” is The American Practical Navigator by Nathaniel Bowditch, an astronomer and mathematician who is considered the father of modern maritime navigation. It seems like Ishmael is drawing a distinction between quals (people who can’t count) and quants (people who can’t read), but he’s really distinguishing between dreamers and doers.

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