Theseus ship paradox

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Ethernos D Grace, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Ethernos D Grace Registered Senior Member

    I came upon this idea of Theseus ship paradox made me think for a while and I came to a conclusion(which might not be right) that it is only a paradox when u look from 1 perspective. I use the word imagine a lot since I imagine a lot.
    Now imagine a person growing old and as he grow old. All the atoms in his body is being replaced. Now what makes a person a person is the memories he collected over time and so, his sense of to me, if he retained all his memory he is he as a person but the body is not him when he was a child.his body he at the his current time. If his memory is retained partially of his childhood then he is not him as a whole when he was a child.
    Now the Theseus's boat after the travel is not his boat before the travel but to him it is to who he is now and the boat that was made from the scrap is his original boat before traveling but not the same boat after traveling. The scrap boat can also be his original boat if he deemed it worthy or if it is still in good condition. Lol.
    To understand this we need perspective what the original boat is and also time.please do comment if u see a plot hole and I will try to think more about it. Thank you Mr. James R for restoring my account or thank you miss James R. since he is in superposition right now to me.
    Jokes apart thank you.
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    My first thought was ...what are you talking about?

    You are asking, I suppose, whether you are the same person you were as a child or are you a different person? It's not really a paradox. We all change over time. We only live in the "now" as "now" is all we have.

    The change from day to day isn't as apparent as the change from when we were a child but the concept is the same. We are continually changing so, no, we aren't the same person that we were as a child just as we aren't the same person that we were yesterday.
    Ethernos D Grace likes this.
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  5. Ethernos D Grace Registered Senior Member

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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    When a part of a whole is replaced with a new part, that new part is imbued with the identity of the whole.

    Each plank replaced on Theseus' ship becomes part of his ship. Because part of what it means to be a ship is replacement of parts. By the time the last plank is replaced, all the other planks have the identity as part of his ship.

    Consider: after you've eaten breakfast, do you mentally track the molecules of your Cheerios as they build your bones and make cells? Do you see them as foreign bodies, replacing parts of you?
    The moment molecules are digested and passed into your system, they become part of you. And everything built from them is 'you'. Part of what it means to be 'you' is that your molecules are continually replaced.

    Put another way: individual atoms are not stamped with unique serial numbers. Taking one atom out and putting in a different one - or even adding a new one - doesn't make you less 'you'.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think the important point is that a thing's identity is not in its raw materials, but in the way they are put together. A thing is not just the sum of its individual parts.

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