The Ship of Theseus

The Ship of Theseus

What is it?

The Ship of Theseus is a philosophical thought experiment that questions whether a ship that has had all its parts replaced is still the same ship. It raises the question of whether an object can retain its identity even if all its components have been replaced over time.

The Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment from ancient Greek philosophy that explores the concept of identity and change over time. The paradox is named after the mythical Greek hero Theseus and his ship, which was preserved for centuries in his honor.

Imagine Theseus has a ship made of wooden planks. Over time, the wooden planks start to decay, and one by one, they are replaced with new, identical planks. Eventually, all of the original planks have been replaced with new ones. Now, here's the question: Is the ship that exists now, after all the replacements, still the same ship as the original Ship of Theseus, or is it a different ship altogether?

To further complicate matters, imagine that someone collects all the old, decayed planks and uses them to rebuild a ship that looks identical to the original. Now there are two ships: one with all the new planks and one with all the old, decayed planks. Which one is the true Ship of Theseus?

This thought experiment raises questions about the nature of identity and change. If an object undergoes gradual changes, at what point does it cease to be the same object? Does the identity of an object reside in its physical components, its fo ...