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  1. #11
    Senior Member placebo's Avatar
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    May 2008


    It's a 'thought experiment' as my philosophy professor would say.
    I wouldn't say in Story 1 that the Ship of Theseus is the SAME ship as it was on Day 1 as it is on Day 3002. I think it's still the Ship of Theseus, but because it has undergone such a physical transformation it can't be the 'same' one. And for story 2, same thing, it's not the Ship of Theseus. It's just another ship made up of the old used parts of the Ship of Theseus. I think their identities mean more than their parts. It also has to do with the history of the parts and the event of building the ship as a whole. The first Ship of Theseus was built for a voyage and for Theseus. The second Ship of Theseus was built by some man who couldn't afford his own parts and I'm not sure what the reason for building his was.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by animenagai View Post
    lol this is a typical identity question. the natural second step to this is to ask the same about the human body. we completely swap our body's cells etc. around every 2 years. how are you the same person if the biological parts are all different? there are 2 two common answers to this question.

    1. that there is some kind of soul which did not change during the biological change. there are obvious reasons to be skeptical of an answer like this.

    2. there is a shared consciousness between time A and time B, which makes me the same person. what is this consciousness that we speak of though?

    fun fun funlosophy.
    I don't believe in the soul. I do believe in history though. We are our memories. That's why people with amnesia tend to behave differently than they would before the accident. The ship's crew remained the same. They remember how the ship used to be in the past even if the body of the ship changed over time. The man collecting the parts hadn't been through what the original ship's crew had. So as far as the history of his ship is concerned, there is nothing in common with the original ship. Same body, different mind. No one questions the individuality of two people who just happen to be twins. Same genetic code, different experiences.

  3. #13
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    On one hand, you can have a concept of the whole unity that makes up an object.
    So you have a ship consisting of the entirety of its parts.
    If you replace one board, it's still the same ship. Just with one board replaced. The whole is still intact. If you replace another board, then you still have the same whole.
    The question is where do you draw the line as more boards are replaced?
    All the new boards being added become apart of the whole. The whole was never dismantled, it remained solid. That's also how I believe our "bodies" work. It's the "whole" set of cells that continue to shape our physical form in the world, and maintain our "souls".

    If you consider that entity of "the whole" as the true ship, then another ship built with the original parts would constitute another entity. A second "whole" set of parts. The hypothetical concept of the particular arrangement of particular parts would be the "entity", that would continue from that. And it would be basically reborn, as it had been dismantled and separated over a great deal of time. (at one point, half on the old ship, and half on the new ship). This would basically be like a company, which consists of people in positions. they can all leave one by one, and have new people take over. Then the old people form a new company. Stuff like this has actually happened. The first example I can think of is when the animation units of the golden age movie studios closed down in the 50's and 60's, and the producers, directors and animators went on to create new studios, which provided out TV animation from thatt time onward. They weren't the same corporate entity, but it was the same talent, and basically continued the "entity" as far as the output.
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  4. #14
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by animenagai View Post
    o my god. guys, it's a hypothetical question. it is designed to pick out certain key aspects of a concept or a debate and making you think about it. how practical the actual story is is irrelevant. it's practicality comes in the concept that the story is trying to express.
    This is one of those exercises where the answer reveals more about the person giving it than anything else. Therefore there is no right or wrong answer regardless of what the reply is.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by tenINsFJ View Post
    Now, we find ourselves with two candidates for the Ship of Theseus. Which one, if either, is the actual Ship of Theseus?
    The copy of the first ship is now Theseus's property and therefore the Ship of Theseus. The original materials of the first ship which have been rebuilt are also Theseus's property and so the ship is also the Ship of Theseus. Whether the parts can be considered Theseus's property after they have been disgarded is the question. Also, one must question whether the man's rebuilding of the ship has any affect on its ownership.

    Is the identity created from Theseus's possession of the ship, its physical structure as a whole rather than parts, its originality of parts which make up the whole?

    There is no answer, it is subjective.

  6. #16
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    This is one of those exercises where the answer reveals more about the person giving it than anything else. Therefore there is no right or wrong answer regardless of what the reply is.
    Can we generalize people's responses by types?

    As an Ni dominant, I say the whole is more than just the sum of its parts. Ship A is closer to the original than Ship B.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Maabus1999's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    Question is if a whole made up of its parts, or do all the parts make up the whole?

  8. #18
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Jun 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by tenINsFJ View Post
    Which one, if either, is the actual Ship of Theseus?
    This sounds like a question of ownership quicker than a question of constituents.

    What if we went even further back?
    What about if all the wood for both ships came from the same forest? The same tree even.


    Once the first ship lost its first part, it became the ship of Theseus minus one ruined and plus one spare part (or minus two ruined and plus two spare parts et cetera down the line till all 3002 parts are replaced), but because of the cumber of such a windy name, the second part was colloquially lopped off.
    The quality of having been dismantled and rebuilt simultaneously have not been removed simple because they're not referenced.
    The use of parts not of the original body, which was given a specialized, individualized title, not because only of the shape of the ship, but because those very constituents, by law of determinism cannot be found anywhere else, not even in a duplicate.

    That is, it was named the ship of Theseus for more reasons than that just the shape, and changing any one of those things makes the quality ostensibly different.

    If this is the case, Theseus' ship no longer exists after the first board is removed.

    This is, of course, unless it is a question of ownership, in which case it's still the ship of Theseus even after having a part removed and replaced by a stray.

    So really it boils down to which side of the fence you stand on:
    Is the ship named for its shape, components, people who worked on it, and named after the person it was used by/given to, or is Theseus' ship an abstract concept which is irrespective of what concrete objects its made up of?

    This isn't philosophy, this is opinion.
    I don't know how to make an opinion. I just know how things would be from several angles, and for the sake of conversation, will entertain one and neglect the others.
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  9. #19
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    Some musings....

    Quote Originally Posted by tenINsFJ View Post the Ship of Theseus on Day 3002 is the same ship as the Ship of Theseus on Day 1, even though they share none of the same physical parts.

    In a little over eight years of active use, the physical maintenence of a wooden ship is taken for granted. The physical The demands of the environment on the ship as it is piloted , along with the demands of the crew and cargo on and within it anticipate regular and occasionally extraordinary replacement of worn or broken parts. Moreover during the course of the voyage, certain modifications might be made to the original design in response to changing conditions. But even without any replacement of parts the physical ship would not be the same ship that left the dock eight years earlier, just as you or I are not the same bodies we were eight years ago.

    A vessel is more than a ship. This ship is a literal representation of Theseus' intention, ambition or overall strategy. As a vessel, the ship of Theseus is more than the sum of it's working parts. In this sense the ship is the same on day 3002 as on day 1, having been in constant service to the (original) vision of Theseus.

    Story 2:

    ...Which one, if either, is the actual Ship of Theseus?

    The ship in his possession and under the direct influence of his command is the ship of Theseus. The other ship has been created from salvage. I am reasonably sure that there are maratime traditions regarding the recovery of jettisoned materials that favor the discoverer, however impractical the effort.

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  10. #20
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Jun 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    I don't believe in the soul. I do believe in history though. We are our memories. That's why people with amnesia tend to behave differently than they would before the accident. The ship's crew remained the same. They remember how the ship used to be in the past even if the body of the ship changed over time.
    I've pondered sometimes over the place of sleep and unconsciousness in this, and whether continuity has any weight in the argument. Are you only you when you are awake?

    If your memory could be transplanted into another body, would you still be you?
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

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