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Ship of Theseus

J.Kenyon
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8/21/2010 9:19:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Since there's no philosophy forum (wtf, Phil, seriously??), I'm posting this here.

Some of the more philosophically inclined DDOians will already know about this. The Ship of Theseus problem is philosophical thought experiment pertaining to identity with important implications in philosophy of mind.

The story goes like this: After Theseus returned to Athens from the island of Crete where he slew the Minotaur, the Athenians preserved the ship he sailed on in the harbor as a memorial. It was kept there for several generations.

Unfortunately, because it was made of wood, parts of it eventually began to rot and decay. Old boards were gradually replaced with new ones as it became necessary. Over time, the ship eventually became devoid of any original components.

So, is it still the same ship? Before you answer yes or no, you might want to consider this...

What if, as old pieces were thrown away, the owner of the scrap yard kept them and reassembled them over the years, bit by bit into their original arrangement? Which one is the real ship of Theseus: the pristine boat in the harbor, or the rotting hulk in the junkyard?
Xer
Posts: 7,776
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8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:27:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Hmm. Can I answer that neither one is the real ship? The new one isn't, simply because it isn't the same thing, physically, that Theseus sailed. And the old one isn't, because it decayed, and therefore changed into something else.
Should we subsidize education?
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: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
J.Kenyon
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8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:30:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

Define "same person."
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
Xer
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8/21/2010 9:31:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:30:32 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

Define "same person."

This.
studentathletechristian8
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8/21/2010 9:33:12 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

I don't think this follows.

What Nags said is quite true. The new cross is not the same as the original.

As humans, we will constantly change in regards to emotions, physical levels, intellegence, etc. However, the body itself will not be completely altered. It's not like our brains, heart, etc. are being replaced. We're the same person with a constant cycle of life and death in the body.
J.Kenyon
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8/21/2010 9:33:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:30:32 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
Define "same person."

That's the whole point of the exercise. I'm asking you. What specific attributes give an object or a person its distinct identity?
studentathletechristian8
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8/21/2010 9:35:16 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:33:57 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:30:32 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
Define "same person."

That's the whole point of the exercise. I'm asking you. What specific attributes give an object or a person its distinct identity?

With the cross described by Nags, everything has been replaced. Not all has been replaced in respects to the human.
Xer
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8/21/2010 9:35:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:33:12 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

I don't think this follows.

What Nags said is quite true. The new cross is not the same as the original.

As humans, we will constantly change in regards to emotions, physical levels, intellegence, etc. However, the body itself will not be completely altered. It's not like our brains, heart, etc. are being replaced. We're the same person with a constant cycle of life and death in the body.

Right. Also, humans (unlike inanimate objects like ships or crosses) have non-physical qualities.
J.Kenyon
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8/21/2010 9:37:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:35:45 PM, Nags wrote:
Right. Also, humans (unlike inanimate objects like ships or crosses) have non-physical qualities.

Are you affirming substance dualism? o.O
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:35:45 PM, Nags wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:33:12 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:25:21 PM, Nags wrote:
Nope.

Let's say I make a wooden cross. The cross is made of two boards and some nails. Eventually all the materials go bad, and all the original materials are gone. New boards and new nails are bought and used to re-make the wooden cross piece by piece. The new cross is not the same as the original.

None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

I don't think this follows.

What Nags said is quite true. The new cross is not the same as the original.

As humans, we will constantly change in regards to emotions, physical levels, intellegence, etc. However, the body itself will not be completely altered. It's not like our brains, heart, etc. are being replaced. We're the same person with a constant cycle of life and death in the body.

Right. Also, humans (unlike inanimate objects like ships or crosses) have non-physical qualities.

What non-physical qualities?
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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8/21/2010 9:38:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:35:16 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
With the cross described by Nags, everything has been replaced. Not all has been replaced in respects to the human.

At which point would the ship cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus? How many parts would have to be replaced?
Xer
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8/21/2010 9:39:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:37:21 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:35:45 PM, Nags wrote:
Right. Also, humans (unlike inanimate objects like ships or crosses) have non-physical qualities.

Are you affirming substance dualism? o.O

No.

At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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8/21/2010 9:41:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
the Buddha: "There is not a self residing in name and form, but the cooperation of the conformations produces what people call a man. Just as the word 'chariot' is but a mode of expression for axle, wheels, the chariot-body and other constituents in their proper combination, so a living being is the appearance of the groups ... as they are joined in a unit. There is no self in the carriage and there is no self in man. O bhikkhus, this doctrine is sure and an eternal truth, that there is no self outside of its parts. This self of ours which constitutes Name and Form is a combination of the groups ..., but there is no ego entity, no self in itself." -- http://www.sacred-texts.com...
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities? They're just parts of your brain, unless you believe in a soul.
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
studentathletechristian8
Posts: 5,810
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8/21/2010 9:41:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:38:40 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:35:16 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
With the cross described by Nags, everything has been replaced. Not all has been replaced in respects to the human.

At which point would the ship cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus? How many parts would have to be replaced?

The physical ship would cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus when, after he and his crew have stepped off the ship and pledged never to go on it again, any part of the ship is replaced.
studentathletechristian8
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8/21/2010 9:42:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities? They're just parts of your brain, unless you believe in a soul.

It's the simple tangible vs. intangible qualities.

Ambition, passion, and the like are non-physical. Sure, they can be expressed in physical ways, but they themselves are not physical.
J.Kenyon
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8/21/2010 9:43:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:41:57 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:38:40 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:35:16 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
With the cross described by Nags, everything has been replaced. Not all has been replaced in respects to the human.

At which point would the ship cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus? How many parts would have to be replaced?

The physical ship would cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus when, after he and his crew have stepped off the ship and pledged never to go on it again, any part of the ship is replaced.

Wouldn't it follow, then, that if any part of a person were changed, altered, or replaced, he would cease to be the same person?
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:45:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:42:59 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities? They're just parts of your brain, unless you believe in a soul.

It's the simple tangible vs. intangible qualities.

Ambition, passion, and the like are non-physical. Sure, they can be expressed in physical ways, but they themselves are not physical.

But if they're just part of your brain, then they are physical qualities, in the sense that they are entirely determined by things in the physical world, specifically, one's brain.
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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8/21/2010 9:45:26 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

the Buddha: "Life is instantaneous and living is dying. Just as a chariot-wheel in rolling rolls only at one point of the tire, and in resting rests only at one point; in exactly the same way, the life of a living being lasts only for the period of one thought. As soon as that thought has ceased the being is said to have ceased. As it has been said: 'The being of a past moment of thought has lived, but does not live, nor will it live. The being of a future moment of thought will live, but has not lived, nor does it live. The being of the present moment of thought does live, but has not lived, nor will it live.'" -- http://www.sacred-texts.com...
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Xer
Posts: 7,776
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8/21/2010 9:45:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities?

Intelligence is a property of the mind. Mental, social, and social characteristics (personality) are not physical.

Intelligence and personality are non-physical -- they don't take up any space.
studentathletechristian8
Posts: 5,810
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8/21/2010 9:46:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:43:53 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:41:57 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:38:40 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:35:16 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
With the cross described by Nags, everything has been replaced. Not all has been replaced in respects to the human.

At which point would the ship cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus? How many parts would have to be replaced?

The physical ship would cease to be the "real" ship of Theseus when, after he and his crew have stepped off the ship and pledged never to go on it again, any part of the ship is replaced.

Wouldn't it follow, then, that if any part of a person were changed, altered, or replaced, he would cease to be the same person?

No, not exactly. Like Nags said, there's a difference between humans and inanimate objects.
LeafRod
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8/21/2010 9:46:58 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
How about it isn't physically the Ship of Theseus, but in reality people would tend not to call such a thing by what is physically is—and hence everyone would still consider it the Ship of Theseus.

Maybe if you replace an arbitrarily significant portion of it, then it ceases to be the ship.
studentathletechristian8
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8/21/2010 9:47:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:45:55 PM, Nags wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities?

Intelligence is a property of the mind. Mental, social, and social characteristics (personality) are not physical.

Intelligence and personality are non-physical -- they don't take up any space.

These are intangible - meaning that they cannot be physically touched or observed. Therefore, since they are not physical qualities, they must be non-physical qualities.
Xer
Posts: 7,776
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8/21/2010 9:47:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:47:10 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:45:55 PM, Nags wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities?

Intelligence is a property of the mind. Mental, social, and social characteristics (personality) are not physical.

Intelligence and personality are non-physical -- they don't take up any space.

These are intangible - meaning that they cannot be physically touched or observed. Therefore, since they are not physical qualities, they must be non-physical qualities.

Right.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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8/21/2010 9:47:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:45:26 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:29:15 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
None of the cells currently in your body (except for some brain cells) are the same as the ones you had at the age of two. Are you the same person?

The life of a living being lasts only for the period of one thought. As soon as that thought has ceased the being is said to have ceased.

You cease to think on a daily basis -- every time you go to sleep.
studentathletechristian8
Posts: 5,810
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8/21/2010 9:47:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:46:58 PM, LeafRod wrote:
How about it isn't physically the Ship of Theseus, but in reality people would tend not to call such a thing by what is physically is—and hence everyone would still consider it the Ship of Theseus.

Maybe if you replace an arbitrarily significant portion of it, then it ceases to be the ship.

Exactly.

My interpretation would be that, no, it isn't the actual ship of Theseus, but it represents what Theseus accomplished.
LaissezFaire
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8/21/2010 9:48:20 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/21/2010 9:45:55 PM, Nags wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:41:15 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 8/21/2010 9:37:28 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
What non-physical qualities?

Intelligence, personality, that kind of stuff.

How are those not physical qualities?

Intelligence is a property of the mind. Mental, social, and social characteristics (personality) are not physical.

Intelligence and personality are non-physical -- they don't take up any space.

Your skin color doesn't take up any space either. Skin color is just the reflection of light off of your skin. However, since the pigments that cause skin color do take up space, it is a physical quality. Cells in your brain determine intelligence and personality, and those cells take up physical space.
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.