A Little Metaphysics Of Identity

Ship of Theseus

"First, suppose that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle has been kept in a harbour as a museum piece. As the years go by some of the wooden parts begin to rot and are replaced by new ones. After a century or so, all of the parts have been replaced. Is the "restored" ship still the same object as the original?"

"Second, suppose that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology develops to cure their rotting and enable them to be put back together to make a ship. Is this "reconstructed" ship the original ship? And if so, is the restored ship in the harbour still the original ship too?"

I really liked this thought experiment. Click on the link to read more.

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AIOPZ

Pan-Islamist
Ship of Theseus

"First, suppose that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle has been kept in a harbour as a museum piece. As the years go by some of the wooden parts begin to rot and are replaced by new ones. After a century or so, all of the parts have been replaced. Is the "restored" ship still the same object as the original?"

"Second, suppose that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology develops to cure their rotting and enable them to be put back together to make a ship. Is this "reconstructed" ship the original ship? And if so, is the restored ship in the harbour still the original ship too?"

I really liked this thought experiment. Click on the link to read more.

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My opinion on this is that both the reconstructed and the restored ships are not the true "orginial" ships and it's misleading to think otherwise. The "original" ship had the tears, blood, and sweat of those who had used it back in the day; the newer ships are flatly to put it nostalgic replicas (very authentic replicas, however, to give some credit).
 

kickz

Engineer of Qandala
VIP
A ship is not a person, just some wood and metal assembled.

Its whatever the person deciding it is, so the answer can be either or both.
 
I will say that the second one is more closer to being the real deal, then the first one.

The second one you're only repairing the original woods, rather then changing it with a completely new wood.
 

YourBroMoe

Who the fuck am I? ギくェズー
VIP
The way I'd solve this is by looking at identity over time as a constant state of rebirthing.

As the ship had a part that was replaced, it obviously changed and so the originality of the ship is gone, with this newness taking over.

The essence of the original ship remains until every part is replaced, stripping it of it's original essence.

Curing the ship's rotted original parts, restores the "original" ship.

The restored ship, based on the return of the original ship then becomes a separate ship that used to represent the last ship.


Although, one could ask themselves on what grounds do we define the ship in the first place?

If it's based on the owner, like "YourBroMoe's car", then so long as I own it, it's still "YourBroMoe's car".

As the Ship of Theseus is defined as the ship that was sailed by Theseus, then the moment any changes occur after Theseus's last voyage, that would remove the original status of the ship.

That's how I see it.
 

A_A

Islamic Fanfiction Writer
VIP
Hmm I say neither is the original. I don’t think that’s wrong, they will never be the original. If I had to choose, I’d go with the first one. The second one was more like a sudden recreation. The first one was a slow change, it took time and history. It had meaning and history, the second one just felt like a fake.
 

Sophisticate

Steel Magnolia
Staff Member
Moderator
Without restoration there would be no ship. Both are as close to the original as they can get. One in the same formation (but merely repaired), and one from the same materials (but reconstructed). Nothing is static. Neither is a fake replica.
 
You all gave interesting answers.

Have you guys heard of the continuum fallacy (Sorites paradox)? (Click on the link)

Sorites paradox

Loki's Wager

"According to the Prose Edda (Skáldskaparmál ch. 35), Loki once made a bet with the dwarf Brok, and wagered his head. He lost, and in due time the dwarves came to collect. Loki had no problem with giving up his head, but insisted they had absolutely no right to take any part of his neck. Everyone concerned discussed the matter; certain parts were obviously head, and certain parts were obviously neck, but neither side could agree exactly where one ended and the other began. So Loki kept his head indefinitely, although his lips were stitched shut as punishment for getting out of the bet with tricky wordplay.

The fallacy may be overcome either by establishing a reasonable, working definition of the term in issue, or by showing that the other party is being unreasonable and avoiding the argument."

I think it's extremely hard to solve this problem without putting in a social construct such as @kickz and @Lolalola said blood sweat and tears, or @YourBroMoe car. @A_A I do believe the reconstructed ship is the original one too because every single component was used before it broke off along the journey, and it's the original parts put together again.

I think certain rules and conditions have to be made for this problem to be solved, or it will become extremely arbitrary, because @sophisticate and @Kaiser (history) answers also are true, if you agree to certain social constructs.

An objective answer to this problem is very hard.
 
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