Course Hero. "Moby-Dick Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/>.
Course Hero. (2016, October 13). Moby-Dick Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 18, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Moby-Dick Study Guide." October 13, 2016. Accessed December 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/.
Course Hero, "Moby-Dick Study Guide," October 13, 2016, accessed December 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/.
Ishmael is about to take his first turn at the masthead, looking constantly at the sea for signs of whales. He considers how their masthead is different from a "crow's nest" and how "young philosophers" might not do a diligent job of sighting the whales. He admits that it is difficult to maintain your focus on watching for whales when you are thinking about other things.
This chapter includes a little humor in that Ishmael acknowledges it is hard to pay attention to your job when you're constantly getting caught up in philosophical thoughts. Because Ishmael's own story is a fabric of tangential thoughts, philosophies, and musings interwoven with plot, he seems to be talking about himself here.