The Instigator
mongoose
Pro (for)
Losing
28 Points
The Contender
Ibap
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

If the blade of an axe is replaced, and then its handle, it is still the same axe.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 15 votes the winner is...
Ibap
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,504 times Debate No: 11979
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (15)

 

mongoose

Pro

Hello, I would like to welcome my friend Ibap to this site and his first debate, should he choose to accept. I have chosen a topic that makes little sense and follows little logic. I hope to have a great debate.

The first time the head is replaced, it is clear that it is the same axe. It just has a different blade. This would be equivalent to changing the tires of a car or a bike. You wouldn't call it a whole new car or a whole new bike. It is the same one with different parts.

Now, when you change the handle, the same factor applies, even though the result has no similarities to the original. What matters is the recognition that the the blade was still the same axe. If you recognize that it is the same axe at every stage, then it is still the same axe.

Thank you.
Ibap

Con

Thanks for challenging me to this debate! Sorry about the delay in accepting; I wasn't able to log on for a couple days.

While most people would agree that replacing the tire on a bike doesn't make it a new bike, that situation isn't completely analogous to that of the axe.

Replacing the wheels doesn't change the bike, but (I believe) most people would agree that replacing the entire rest of the bike does.

The reason for this is that one part of the bike (or axe) is seen as the core, main part of the object; all the other parts are replaceable without changing the object, but replacing the core part would change it.

In the case of the axe, the head would be the "core," because once you separate it from the handle, it still retains its purpose and is obviously part of an axe.

Once the handle is separated, it becomes just a piece of wood, and is no longer recognizable as a part of an axe; it loses its identity as the starting axe.

Pro's argument is based on the assumption that the handle will be perceived as not having changed after the head is separated from it. This assumption is unfounded; thus, Pro's argument falls flat.

Thanks again for challenging me; I look forward to continuing with this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
mongoose

Pro

While changing the entire rest of the bike all at once may change the bike, what if you change a little part of it at a time? Then one part of it would be the "core." But what if you disassemble the core? Then you're down to the smaller parts, or eventually, the atom, considering one atom to be the "core" of the bike. At that point, the bike could easily lose the atom and still be considered a bike. Infact, it probably did and you just didn't notice. So clearly, it would still have to be the same bike.

When you need to replace the axe blade, the axe blade is clearly worn down. At the point of removing it, the handle is the part that you would continue to perceive as the axe, for it is the part you are planning to use. You then add a shiny new axe blade to that handle, and it would be the same axe. Now, after the handle wears down, you remove it and keep the old blade. The new handle would be added to the axe, so it would still be the same axe.

Essentially, the axe is whatever one perceives the axe as. The part being kept would clearly be the part perceived to be the axe. If the blade of the axe is dulled, then the wooden handle of the axe could still be used to chop stuff, but at no particularly quick or effective rate. As long as one perceives the handle as the part being retained, then it is the same axe.

Thank you.
Ibap

Con

It doesn't really make sense to say that the "core" of the bike could be reduced to a single atom and remain the "core," because that atom would neither be recognizable as part of a bike nor be useable as a bike. Once you reduce a bike to a single atom most people would agree that it is no longer the same object it was.

On the other hand, most people would also say that removing an atom from a bike's "core," whatever that part may be, would not change the bike.

Therefore, it can be assumed that there is a point in the disassembly of an object's "core" at which the object is no longer what it was. However, the determination of that point is completely irrelevant to this debate, since the axe's "core" is its head, which is not being disassembled.

Pro assumes that:
"At the point of removing [the head], the handle is the part that you would continue to perceive as the axe, for it is the part you are planning to use," and that "The part being kept would clearly be the part perceived to be the axe."

However, the fact that you intend to continue using the handle and not the axe head does not mean that you would see the handle as still being the old axe.

Reverting to the bike example, suppose the entire bike other than the wheels was irreversibly damaged. If a new bike is bought and the old wheels are attached to it, most people would perceive the new one as not being the same as the old one. This also applies to the axe.

The idea that "The part being kept would clearly be the part perceived to be the axe" also doesn't make sense given the bike example.

The fact that the headless handle could continue to be used for the same purpose as the whole axe (with much, much less efficiency and speed) isn't really relevant; the bike could also be used in that way, but a bike is normally not considered an axe.

In removing the axe's head (core), the handle becomes unrecognizable as an axe (and no more useful as one than many objects which are not axes). The new axe created by attaching a different head isn't perceived to be the same object as it was.

Thanks again; this debate has turned out pretty interestingly so far. I look forward to its continuation.
Debate Round No. 2
mongoose

Pro

My opponent states that the atom would not matter. But then, what if you switch the entire bike frame for another, one atom at a time? Clearly, each individual atom does not change the bike, as you have said. The end result would have to be considered the same as the first. Changing the axe head is just changing a lot of atoms at the same time.

The human body constantly kills and grows new cells. Would you say that you are the same person you were a month ago? The most logical answer is yes.

If you have a bike, and its frame is irreversibly damaged, you would remove the frame, leaving the wheels. You would take a new frame and add it to the bike. By keeping the wheels, you are adding the frame to the wheels, not the wheels to the bike, so you are adding the frame back to the bike.

Let's look to the definition of "same."

- unchanged in character, condition, etc (http://dictionary.reference.com...)

The axe would be composed of an axe head identical to the original. When the head is removed, the handle may not be an axe anymore, but adding the head would make it the axe again. The axe retains the key things needed to be called the same: form (it is a handle attached to a blade), material (the heads are composed of the same metal), formal (what it is considered; it would be considered the same axe), final (the axe would still be used for the same task: chopping wood or necks or whatever else it was originally used for), and the efficient clause (it would be reconstructed in the same way that it was instructed.)

http://en.allexperts.com...

While my opponent addresses that the headless handle would not be recognized as an axe, he does not consider that the old handle with a new head would be considered the same axe.

I pose another question to my opponent: What if the original axe is used for so long that the blade is physically worn down to the point of it being blunt and impossible to ever be used as an axe again, leaving only the handle? The blade would be gone, and not identifiable as the core. After another blade has been added, suppose the handle eventually dissolves. There would have to be a new handle.
Ibap

Con

The exact scenario of the axe parts' replacement was never formally established; so far there have been two possibilities presented:
1. The parts are each just replaced, one after the other, with each part being replaced all at once.
2. The head wears down to the point of nonexistence and is then replaced with a new one. Then the handle wears down to the point of nonexistence and is also replaced.

A third possibility may have been implied through some of my opponent's analogies:
3. The head wears down, atom by atom, and is gradually replaced, atom by atom (each atom being replaced immediately after its removal, as opposed to 2, in which the atoms are all replaced at once at the end).

A fourth possibility is:
4. The head wears down (but not to the point of nonexistence) and is then replaced with a new one. Then the handle wears down (but not to the point of nonexistence) and is also replaced.

The definition of "same" given was "unchanged in character, condition, etc."

In the second scenario, the axe is clearly changed in condition – its nonexistent head is replaced with a new one. It is changed from a damaged to an undamaged condition.

In the fourth scenario, the axe is again clearly changed in condition – its partly-destroyed head is replaced with a new, unworn head. It is also changed from a damaged to an undamaged condition.

With regard to the first and third scenarios, it is important to look again at the definition of "same" – "unchanged in character, condition, etc." In order for something to be "unchanged," it must not have changed (change - to become altered or modified [1]) . In the first scenario, the axe is changed when the original head or handle is removed from it. It is then returned to something very much like its original state, but it was changed (twice) and is thus not "unchanged." In the third scenario, the axe is changed millions of times as each atom is replaced, and is thus not "unchanged." Neither is the "same."

My opponent has not presented any scenario in which the axe would be the "same" by his definition. As such, he has not proved his resolution.

Again, thank you for the challenge to the debate, and for introducing me to the site.

[1] - http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by gamemaster 6 years ago
gamemaster
I think the whole debate should be about establishing what "same" means and then it is easy to see who is right. Depending on the definition it could be either way. I would argue that the integrity of the original axe was partially lost when the blade was changed, and totally lost when the handle was changed. It was simply another axe because it was composed of totally different components. The resolution contradicts the logic law of identity.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@TheSkeptic

This is similar to personal identity problem. Your profile says your for "psychological continuity." Is this in favor of or against personal identity?
Posted by TheSkeptic 6 years ago
TheSkeptic
Anyone want to debate me about this topic?
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Good job Ibap.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Oh hey, mongoose did use that example in R3.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
A better analogy would be saying that even though all the cells in the human body are replaced in one's life time, we are considered the same person. Still, this is refuted by the core argument, because we cannot yet replace brain cells.
Posted by mongoose 7 years ago
mongoose
Why did three people give me seven points? That's just rediculous. I believe I got sources, but that's it.
Posted by mongoose 7 years ago
mongoose
Yeah, though the context given by the dictionary for the definition was "the town remained the same for all those years" or something, so it implied something different. I just never mentioned that.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
This was a pretty interesting topic, but I think Pro could have presented a stronger case. His atom argument was weak and a bit non-sensical. None of that mattered, though, after he presented a self-defeating definition of "same." Arguments to Con.
15 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 6 years ago
Rockylightning
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 6 years ago
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mongoose
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Sonofkong
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