Philosophy Phun

Thomas

So it goes ...
Veteran Member
Messages
14,294
Reaction score
4,197
Points
108
Location
London UK
The Ship of Theseus

According to Greek legend, Theseus had a ship that was preserved by the Athenians, who replaced the old with the new so that, in time, every single piece of the ship had been replaced.

Question: Is it still the same ship?
Corollary: If another ship was bult from the pieces replaced, which ship is the rightful Ship of Theseus?

+++

As reported in a classic car magazine, a man found a pile of rust, in which was a much corroded chassis plate, which revealed that this pile of rust was, in fact, the earliest registered car of its marque (a Bentley, as I recall).

So the man bought the pile of rust, examined every fragment to determine what was beyond salvage or repair ... and replaced that which was simply too far gone, as one would do over the passage of years ... in so doing he built a Bentley out of new components entirely, everything except the chassis plate.

He then tried to re-register the car as the same vehicle as that signified by the chassis plate, which would make it the oldest and thus most valuable, desirable and collectable (and immediately devaluing the current holder of the title which was itself a restored vehicle, but considerably younger).

Was that car the car the chassis plate claimed it to be?

Thomas
 
Hmmm...I'll bite. (I may regret it, though.) :)

I will start by posturing that the ship (or car) is a new creation which retains the core essence of the original.

(Just throwing something out here phor phun.)

InPeace,
InLove
 
I don't think it should be sold as the same car no..

Only fools and horses? Anyone? (anyone from the UK?)

Where you have this classic clip... An idiot called Trigger is boasting to everyone in a loud tone in the room how he has received a medal from his local council for owning the same broom for twenty odd years... Despite the fact it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles.......
 
Hmm, are you the same person you were 30 years ago? How many of the same cells does your body have now that your body had 30 years ago? Are you those shead cells? Are you your fingernail and hair clippings that you toss away?

When you lose consciousness, are you the same person when you wake up that you were prior to losing consciousness? What is it that gives continuity?
The Sixth Patriarch's "Your Mind Moves"

The wind was flapping a temple flag, and two monks started an argument.

One said the flag moved, the other said the wind moved;

they argued back and forth but could not reach a conclusion.

The Sixth Patriarch said, "It is not the wind that moves, it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves."

The two monks were awe-struck.

Just as it is our mind that gives us our continuity, it is also our mind that bestows the continuity upon The Ship of Theseus.

One might as well ask, what are the natures of time and timelessness, and how do they interact?
 
I die daily... I am not the man that I was yesterday...

Definintely not the man I have memories of 20 years ago...

Or the child I was 40 years ago...

Can't step in the same river twice...

No it aint the same ship, or the same bentley...it is a replica, new and improved...
 
Wil, I would say you still are that man... Just your getting a bit rusty ;) Sure you could run for miles leap over walls take on groups of thugs.... heart of a lion, overflowing with courage or legs of a cheeta, or whatever but people deteriorate... It's still -you- just your abilities become dulled, and your experience becomes more.... It isn't like you have had a new heart a new brain new rib cage some new hands and new legs and had every bit of your body replaced.. Meh
 
Wil, I would say you still are that man... Just your getting a bit rusty ;) Sure you could run for miles leap over walls take on groups of thugs.... heart of a lion, overflowing with courage or legs of a cheeta, or whatever but people deteriorate... It's still -you- just your abilities become dulled, and your experience becomes more.... It isn't like you have had a new heart a new brain new rib cage some new hands and new legs and had every bit of your body replaced.. Meh
Twould be a shame...yes I still occaisionally portray my tendencies of being a jerk, being uncaring, but I am not nearly the selfish ass I once was. Yes, I am still not always 100% honest and truthful 100% of the time (still fudge when asked "do I look fat?") but I am not the criminal and con man I used to be. Yes, I enjoy building a fire in the fireplace, but I've not burnt down or blown up anything in decades.

I could go on and on....but I am truly not the same being I once was. I die daily and make choices to morph into something different, more beneficial to society, more givng, less taking, got no urge to resurect the old.
 
The reason you may occasionally portait anything of from your past or whatever is simply because you are that same person... lol. You haven't really changed, you have aged per chance, "matured" learnt and changed through phases but it's still good ol' wil.... Criminal? Wouldn't have imagined that one... :D
 
Here's a thing (vaguely unrelated?) ...

In my wayward youth I used to frequent a bar called Dingwalls in Camden (for any Brits amongst us), a 'rock joint', very loud, very noisy, very smokey ... then times change, and today Dingwalls has now been revamped as Jongleurs, a comedy venue.

I have been to Jongleurs 3 times, the third of which was a neighbour's birthday party. In a break in the show, I was talking to a neighbour of my generation, who recalled her memories of Dingwalls, at which point her husband (a guitarist) chimed in, "Oh yeah, of course, in those days, the layout of the place was completely different, the stage was there, and all along that wall was the bar ..."

At which point it was as if someone had opened a cupboard in my head, a cupboard crammed full of memories that hadn't been opened for about 30 years, a cupboard that had been wallpapered over and lost from any recollection. Memories came tumbling out, thick and fast ... not just gigs, friends, occasions, but whole conversations ... in those days Dingwalls was a major part of my life (or was it?) – who was I then ... who am I now ...

Thomas
 
Here's a thing (vaguely unrelated?) ...
<...>
At which point it was as if someone had opened a cupboard in my head, a cupboard crammed full of memories that hadn't been opened for about 30 years, a cupboard that had been wallpapered over and lost from any recollection. Memories came tumbling out, thick and fast ... not just gigs, friends, occasions, but whole conversations ... in those days Dingwalls was a major part of my life (or was it?) – who was I then ... who am I now ...

Thomas
Circumstances may change, and you may change your mind to suit the changing circumstances. However, your past experiences are something that cannot be truly "wrestled" away from you, imo.
 
One might as well ask, what are the natures of time and timelessness, and how do they interact?

Since one cannot proove that lineal time exists, it being a creation of memory, only memory would make the ship the same.
 
Well, it's interesting how there seems to be a layer of irony and paradoxy between things as they seem, and things as they are of themselves.

The ship is both.

Chris
 
AH! Ah haaaa! Thomas, I checked out your link on Maurice Merleau-Ponty!:)

This is something I've been trying to put into words for some time. There is no clear line between the strictly dualistic point of view where one sees one's self as a distinct autonomous observer, and everything else as "other"- equally distinct, and objectively unique, and the point of view where one intuits empathetically what the other's perspective looking back might be. We know what it is to reach out and touch, but we also know that there is always the potential to be touched. We can't remain in both frames of mind simultaneously, but we can never completely ignore the possibility of reversing our point of view. So we can never fully embrace either stark autonomy or objectless universality.

To put the problem in Sartrean terms, while it may sometimes prove efficacious to distinguish between transcendence and facticity [a technical term of Martin Heidegger's that in Merleau-Ponty's usage refers to the sum of brute "facts" about us, including our social situation and our physical attributes, abilities and circumstances], or Being-for-itself and Being-in-itself, Merleau-Ponty thinks that such notions also overlap in such a way as to undermine any absolute difference between these two terms. As a consequence, Sartre's conception of an absolute freedom in regards to a situation is also rendered untenable by the recognition of the ways in which self and world are chiasmically intertwined, though this is not to suggest that the world can be reduced to us. Indeed, Merleau-Ponty explicitly asserts that precisely what is rarely considered is this paradoxical fact that though we are of the world, we are nevertheless not the world (VI 127), and in affirming the interdependence of humanity and the 'things' of the world in a way that permits neither fusion nor absolute distance, he advocates an embodied inherence of a different type.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

So, the ship isn't just an object. It has an intrinsic identity of itserlf which doesn't rely on it's objective physicality (from it's shippy point of view). You can look at it as an object, or you can intuit what it might be to itself, but you can't have it just one way and not the other. So it's both.

Chris
 
Is it still the same ship?

The answer hinges on the specific meaning of the word "same", since this word can mean different things in different contexts.

I.e., "same" for what purpose?

The same for Theseus, who simply wants to remember where he docked his means of transportation? Probably yes.

The same for the Buddha or Heraclitus, deep in philosophical contemplation? Probably not.


eudaimonia,

Mark
 
Or as Theseus himself might have said: "Touch my boat again, and you're in big trouble!"

Did we enjoy that?

I think it's useful to realise there isn't necessarily 'an answer', but there are solutions... Mark's focus on 'same' is accurate as an answer, but still achnowledges viewpoint.

Chris – you've made more of Maurice than I have, so far ...

... and Hi Seattlegal ... yes, experience ... and then, of course, with the passage of time, do we remember things now, as we did then, and is what we remember the same as what we experienced.

What if Theseus had said, "I thought my ship was bigger than that?"

+++

Being me, I picked on on Aristotle:

According to Aristotle there are four causes or reasons that describe a thing:

1 The Formal Cause
the design of a thing,

2 The Material Cause
is the matter that the thing is made of.

The "what-it-is" of a thing, according to Aristotle, is its formal cause; so the Ship of Theseus is the same ship, because the formal cause, or design, does not change, even though the matter used to construct it may vary with time.

3 The Final Cause
the intended purpose of a thing.

4 The Efficient Cause
how and by whom a thing is made.

The Ship of Theseus would have the same beginning and end, that is, Formal and Final Cause, of transporting Theseus, even though its Material Cause would change with time. The shiprights are the Efficient Cause who might well have used the same tools and techniques to replace the planks in the ship.
(from wikipedia)

Thomas
 
The Ship of Theseus

According to Greek legend, Theseus had a ship that was preserved by the Athenians, who replaced the old with the new so that, in time, every single piece of the ship had been replaced.

Question: Is it still the same ship?
Corollary: If another ship was bult from the pieces replaced, which ship is the rightful Ship of Theseus?

Hi,

I'd say:
A: No.
Corollary A: If a ship is made entirely from original pieces then this is the, er, original Ship. The other is a replica.

+++

As reported in a classic car magazine, a man found a pile of rust, in which was a much corroded chassis plate, which revealed that this pile of rust was, in fact, the earliest registered car of its marque (a Bentley, as I recall).

So the man bought the pile of rust, examined every fragment to determine what was beyond salvage or repair ... and replaced that which was simply too far gone, as one would do over the passage of years ... in so doing he built a Bentley out of new components entirely, everything except the chassis plate.

He then tried to re-register the car as the same vehicle as that signified by the chassis plate, which would make it the oldest and thus most valuable, desirable and collectable (and immediately devaluing the current holder of the title which was itself a restored vehicle, but considerably younger).

Was that car the car the chassis plate claimed it to be?

A: No. Or to put it another way: Only partially - the part being the chassis plate.

This all reminds me why I have found "Western" philosophy books to be so tedious!

s.
 
Thomas said:
and Hi Seattlegal ... yes, experience ... and then, of course, with the passage of time, do we remember things now, as we did then, and is what we remember the same as what we experienced.
Nope. The act of remembering is a creative process. (Sorta like rebuilding the ship?)
 
Hi,

OK how boring is that - I just said the same thing as wil. :eek:

s.

PS well not exactly the same, but very similar; but I don't wish to debate the point!
 
So, the ship isn't just an object. It has an intrinsic identity of itserlf which doesn't rely on it's objective physicality (from it's shippy point of view). You can look at it as an object, or you can intuit what it might be to itself, but you can't have it just one way and not the other. So it's both.

Chris[/QUOTE]

Hmmmm...Kind of reminds me of the structure of the realities behind the illusions we insist upon calling real. It's usually referred to as wave-particle duality. In quantum matters, observation is the activating factor in collapsing wave forms into particle forms (material realities). Chew on that while you're lolling in the hot tub and keeping your hands nice and cool with longies.

flow....;)
 
So, the ship isn't just an object. It has an intrinsic identity of itserlf which doesn't rely on it's objective physicality (from it's shippy point of view). You can look at it as an object, or you can intuit what it might be to itself, but you can't have it just one way and not the other. So it's both.

Chris

Hmmmm...Kind of reminds me of the structure of the realities behind the illusions we insist upon calling real. It's usually referred to as wave-particle duality. In quantum matters, observation is the activating factor in collapsing wave forms into particle forms (material realities). Chew on that while you're lolling in the hot tub and keeping your hands nice and cool with longies.

flow....;)[/quote]

Well, yeah...:)

And it's always that. Duality and unity. But we exist in the middle: knowing good from evil, or, being able to experience both but never at the same time. And Shroedinger's cat isn't really a cat at all. It's an analogy about how things might be in the quantum world. But what's really a trip is trying to wrap your mind around what the Newtonian reality might look like from the quantum perspective, because that point of view can't exist (theoretically) without the other either. So, you might say that the 3D illusion is necessary for the other dimensions to exist, which kinda implies an essential delusion in the framework of human consciousness. Woohoo!

Chris
 
Back
Top