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Jerusalem 2009

Melville and/or Conrad: Philosophers of the Sea

Questions that the Participants may wish to address might include, but should by no means be limited to, the following:

  • In what way may texts by Melville and/or Conrad be read as texts of philosophy?
  • In what way does the sea influence their philosophical reflections?
  • What are the unique features of Melville’s and Conrad’s philosophical propositions?
  • Do Melville and/or Conrad have a consistent vision of the universe?
  • How does Conrad’s and/or Melville’s philosophy fit into the dominant trends of philosophy of their times?
  • How do concepts of man and the universe function in Melvillean/Conradian thought?
  • What are the principles of Melvillean/Conradian metaphysics? ontology? epistemology? ethics? aesthetics?
  • In what sense can Melville be considered Conrad’s intellectual predecessor? How does Conrad depart from Melvillean thought?
  • What is the meaning of the famous statement by the author of Nostromo concerning Melville’s Moby-Dick: "A rather strained rhapsody with whaling for a subject, […] and not a single sincere line in the 3 volumes of it.”
  • In what way can Melville/Conrad be discussed in the context of the works of other philosophers, contemporary or otherwise?
  • What are the hermenutic consequences of philosophical intertexts in Melville and in Conrad?