What Are Your Thoughts on the "Ship of Theseus" Idea?
Moonface Offline
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"The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same."
      — Plutarch, Theseus

I came across this earlier and found the concept really interesting and wanted to see what everyone else's stance is on this. Smile

So if you don't know what it is (like I didn't before today), the Ship of Theseus is "a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object." - Wikipedia Article

Do you think an object of such a nature is still the same object, or is it entirely (or to some degree) a new object?
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"The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same."
      — Plutarch, Theseus

I came across this earlier and found the concept really interesting and wanted to see what everyone else's stance is on this. Smile

So if you don't know what it is (like I didn't before today), the Ship of Theseus is "a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object." - Wikipedia Article

Do you think an object of such a nature is still the same object, or is it entirely (or to some degree) a new object?
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Maniakkid25 Offline
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Hehehehe, I love this thought experiment, and I know a great way to make it even worse existentially: In about 7 years or so, your body will completely replace every atom that had been apart of you right at this moment. So, are you still you at that point?
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Hehehehe, I love this thought experiment, and I know a great way to make it even worse existentially: In about 7 years or so, your body will completely replace every atom that had been apart of you right at this moment. So, are you still you at that point?
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Moonface Offline
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For that question @Maniakkid25 I just look at it that everything that gets recreated inside me is with my DNA and genetic code so therefore it's still me because of that", whereas a ship can't replicate its exact materials unless you replace everything with the exact same wood of the same tree you built the ship with in the first place.
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For that question @Maniakkid25 I just look at it that everything that gets recreated inside me is with my DNA and genetic code so therefore it's still me because of that", whereas a ship can't replicate its exact materials unless you replace everything with the exact same wood of the same tree you built the ship with in the first place.
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God these types of things are just a lot of fun and philosophy is pretty fun. So with this thought experiment it brings about the question what constitutes you. I honestly believe a ship that has had it parts replaced is still the ship but I also believe that we as people are a conscious generated by the brain. Even our brains don't stay static, but all life is one as a whole.

Due to the circle of life as things are broken down the building blocks of life that made us what we are are transferred to new things. It is also possible that your brain potentially could of been a part of another brain long ago. Does that mean your brain isn't fully you? If the info the brain generates is you what if technology become advance where a comptuer could hold a human conscious and you clone your brain to the computer which one is you? I would honestly say both are you, but you is a strange thing.

You aren't the same you that you were before as you read this different states of you has changed you aren't the same as you were every second a new you is born. Eventually the brain and computer you could be pretty different people, but still both be you.

Are we not bits of the big bang that came together through a chance and we get to experience the wonders of life? Philosophy is fucking fun dude.
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God these types of things are just a lot of fun and philosophy is pretty fun. So with this thought experiment it brings about the question what constitutes you. I honestly believe a ship that has had it parts replaced is still the ship but I also believe that we as people are a conscious generated by the brain. Even our brains don't stay static, but all life is one as a whole.

Due to the circle of life as things are broken down the building blocks of life that made us what we are are transferred to new things. It is also possible that your brain potentially could of been a part of another brain long ago. Does that mean your brain isn't fully you? If the info the brain generates is you what if technology become advance where a comptuer could hold a human conscious and you clone your brain to the computer which one is you? I would honestly say both are you, but you is a strange thing.

You aren't the same you that you were before as you read this different states of you has changed you aren't the same as you were every second a new you is born. Eventually the brain and computer you could be pretty different people, but still both be you.

Are we not bits of the big bang that came together through a chance and we get to experience the wonders of life? Philosophy is fucking fun dude.
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(Jul 31st, 2021, 12:31 AM)Karo Wrote:
Due to the circle of life as things are broken down the building blocks of life that made us what we are are transferred to new things. It is also possible that your brain potentially could of been a part of another brain long ago. Does that mean your brain isn't fully you? If the info the brain generates is you what if technology become advance where a comptuer could hold a human conscious and you clone your brain to the computer which one is you? I would honestly say both are you, but you is a strange thing.

You aren't the same you that you were before as you read this different states of you has changed you aren't the same as you were every second a new you is born. Eventually the brain and computer you could be pretty different people, but still both be you.
Transferring a brain from an organic being to a computer, or even into another organic being, is a pretty interesting way to look at this theory. It would still be you if your entire consciousness and knowledge came over, but it would only be you in a mental capacity. From a physical standpoint, you would be someone else entirely. I'd look at it in the same way as a computer; you wouldn't transfer all the contents of a HDD to another device and then claim that device to be the same, even though the data or "brain" of it is a 1:1 version of what was in the previous device.
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(Jul 31st, 2021, 12:31 AM)Karo Wrote:
Due to the circle of life as things are broken down the building blocks of life that made us what we are are transferred to new things. It is also possible that your brain potentially could of been a part of another brain long ago. Does that mean your brain isn't fully you? If the info the brain generates is you what if technology become advance where a comptuer could hold a human conscious and you clone your brain to the computer which one is you? I would honestly say both are you, but you is a strange thing.

You aren't the same you that you were before as you read this different states of you has changed you aren't the same as you were every second a new you is born. Eventually the brain and computer you could be pretty different people, but still both be you.
Transferring a brain from an organic being to a computer, or even into another organic being, is a pretty interesting way to look at this theory. It would still be you if your entire consciousness and knowledge came over, but it would only be you in a mental capacity. From a physical standpoint, you would be someone else entirely. I'd look at it in the same way as a computer; you wouldn't transfer all the contents of a HDD to another device and then claim that device to be the same, even though the data or "brain" of it is a 1:1 version of what was in the previous device.
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Ah yes, I love this thought experiment Tongue !

And here's a video which does a good job of outlining the various potential solutions to the paradox:



Myself, I tend to lean towards the 'worm theory' solution. The object in question is "the ship of Theseus", and the ship's single most important defining feature is that it was sailed by the hero Theseus on his voyages. This means our definitions are already including temporal information (and not just spatial information) - and, it only makes sense to do this if we think of objects as 4-dimensional entities in space-time (as opposed to 3-dimensional entities in space).

Of course, this itself only makes sense if you subscribe to the B-theory of time (i.e. all moments in time co-exist equally, and the word 'now' just refers to the time I currently occupy). If you subscribe to the A-theory of time (i.e. only the present truly 'exists'), then I don't see how worm theory makes any sense. Indeed, I don't see how an A-theorist could even define the ship as "The ship sailed by the hero Theseus on his voyages", because that's defining the ship in terms of a past that, according to them, does not exist!

So, perhaps the solution to the paradox is "Worm theory" for a B-theorist, and "The question is absurd" for an A-theorist Tongue .
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Ah yes, I love this thought experiment Tongue !

And here's a video which does a good job of outlining the various potential solutions to the paradox:



Myself, I tend to lean towards the 'worm theory' solution. The object in question is "the ship of Theseus", and the ship's single most important defining feature is that it was sailed by the hero Theseus on his voyages. This means our definitions are already including temporal information (and not just spatial information) - and, it only makes sense to do this if we think of objects as 4-dimensional entities in space-time (as opposed to 3-dimensional entities in space).

Of course, this itself only makes sense if you subscribe to the B-theory of time (i.e. all moments in time co-exist equally, and the word 'now' just refers to the time I currently occupy). If you subscribe to the A-theory of time (i.e. only the present truly 'exists'), then I don't see how worm theory makes any sense. Indeed, I don't see how an A-theorist could even define the ship as "The ship sailed by the hero Theseus on his voyages", because that's defining the ship in terms of a past that, according to them, does not exist!

So, perhaps the solution to the paradox is "Worm theory" for a B-theorist, and "The question is absurd" for an A-theorist Tongue .
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To me, the answer is quite simple: if a 100% of all materials are replaced, them it simply can't be the same ship. HOWEVER, if a single splinter were to remain, then it is totally still the same ship. Restorations happen to all sorts of manmade art and structures and their legitimacy is never doubted.
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To me, the answer is quite simple: if a 100% of all materials are replaced, them it simply can't be the same ship. HOWEVER, if a single splinter were to remain, then it is totally still the same ship. Restorations happen to all sorts of manmade art and structures and their legitimacy is never doubted.
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I don't think I'd classify something as still being the original by the amount of a single splinter. If I were to restore the Titanic but the entire thing is completely unsalvageable except a few rivets due to it sinking, I think it'd be taking the piss to claim it's the original ship. Tongue
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I don't think I'd classify something as still being the original by the amount of a single splinter. If I were to restore the Titanic but the entire thing is completely unsalvageable except a few rivets due to it sinking, I think it'd be taking the piss to claim it's the original ship. Tongue
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I wouldn't say something is its original self, but to nominate/designate something as if it was (as a representation or an honor) I think is where this is fine. It's not its former self, and depending on the circumstance, could be even better.
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I wouldn't say something is its original self, but to nominate/designate something as if it was (as a representation or an honor) I think is where this is fine. It's not its former self, and depending on the circumstance, could be even better.
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I think a good modern day item to consider for this would be the Notre Dame. A lot of it got destroyed by the fire, and will obviously need to be remade, but I doubt many will claim it's the exact same building but also probably wouldn't claim it's entirely different either. I would personally say that whatever remained is the original, and areas like the roof are new rather than being the same even if they end up looking just like the originals.
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I think a good modern day item to consider for this would be the Notre Dame. A lot of it got destroyed by the fire, and will obviously need to be remade, but I doubt many will claim it's the exact same building but also probably wouldn't claim it's entirely different either. I would personally say that whatever remained is the original, and areas like the roof are new rather than being the same even if they end up looking just like the originals.
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(Aug 21st, 2021, 10:02 PM)Moonface Wrote:
I don't think I'd classify something as still being the original by the amount of a single splinter. If I were to restore the Titanic but the entire thing is completely unsalvageable except a few rivets due to it sinking, I think it'd be taking the piss to claim it's the original ship. Tongue

Honestly, this makes me wonder:

What if I salvaged five rivets, and then five shipbuilders each built their own 'Titanic', each incorporating one original rivet. Which ship, if any, would be the original Titanic Tongue ?
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(Aug 21st, 2021, 10:02 PM)Moonface Wrote:
I don't think I'd classify something as still being the original by the amount of a single splinter. If I were to restore the Titanic but the entire thing is completely unsalvageable except a few rivets due to it sinking, I think it'd be taking the piss to claim it's the original ship. Tongue

Honestly, this makes me wonder:

What if I salvaged five rivets, and then five shipbuilders each built their own 'Titanic', each incorporating one original rivet. Which ship, if any, would be the original Titanic Tongue ?
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