Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Ship Of Theseus

The Ship Of Theseus or better known as Theseus's Paradox is a simple yet most intricate philosophies from the time immemorial. It just poses a simple question- "Whether an object whose all parts have been replaced remains fundamentally the same object?" I got acquainted about this anomaly somewhere three years back and I am yet to arrive at a suitable answer to explain my position.
 We all are surrounded by this anomaly, in fact. Take for example, an old car, your Dad is quite attached to. Many of its parts have been replaced, it's even painted new. It's still working. But does it remain the fundamentally the same object your dad bought? I, like many of you, at first believed it was. After all it's been with us for so long. But is that the only parameter? What if the engine has been replaced altogether? Well, lets forget about inanimate objects. Let's move on to a person. Suppose, someone has replaced his organs, as we quite commonly see in transplant cases. Does he remain the same person after that? Yes, of course, he does! He has the same mind. But fundamentally? Would he be able to show exuberance like he used to? Forget even that! Would a person be the same after he is broken? By circumstance or maybe even a failed relationship?
 We all change with time. Change is inescapable. Even languid in some cases and you might discard with all your superciliousness but like time, it is eternal. Now, Be it inanimate objects or the animate ones, nothing is beyond this foible. So, even our opinions, our motives, our thinking! all change. Do we remain fundamentally the same person as we started out to be? I would stick to a firm no. We don't even remain the half of what we had started out as. There is so much change in a person just in a mere duration of an year, I am nonplussed how we attribute him to as being the same person.
 Our love for the things might remain the same. So can our opinions. But it's imperative to observe that things do not remain the same. I am not going into much deeper philosophy to state something about souls of these things, just a superficial scrutiny to one of my most favourite anomalies of all time. And I am sure a few years later I will have an entirely different view to this philosophy. But wouldn't we all? 

14 comments:

  1. That's true.
    Coming to think of it I still have the same priorities as I did years ago..but I have changed as a person..everyone does ..n that's how life rolls ..n I feel for the most part rather than saying that we have changed we can say that we have grown up :)
    Besides.. No matter how many parts of the car have been changed it still feels like same..so its good as long as we old on to the roots ... :) :) :)
    Great post..:)

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    1. Exactly what i was trying to say :) And in a much simpler verse too :) So good to have you here :)

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  2. Kids change or grow up or evolve but for parents they always remain kids (even if they turn 35!)
    And thats just one example, there are many like that, so I think that the initial attachment remains the same throughout!

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    1. You raise a good point. Thanks :)

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    2. Oh wow! You can b nice too!

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  3. What remains polysemous is the definition of that object in question, because our understanding of it being what it is depends on the variables we construe to that definition. One of my variables for example is defining that object with respect to its temporal dimension; in that case, it is constantly changing, yet remains constant on other variables. Temporality is something I believe we keep forgetting to take into consideration because it is continually in flux. Even without repainting, changing oil, removing engines, that object is subject to the ministrations of time and ages. But, to our mind, it is still the same object. Therefore, (and I guess I am only saying exactly what you are) it is all grounded in perception.

    By the way, yes I also I feel like I just said a whole bunch of crap without saying anything...I meant to have a profound point to this but then it escaped me and I got distracted and I lost the thought. O_o Sigh-- change!

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  4. You have such a command over the language. And such an ingenuous vocabulary is no less than plausible. The problem about us associating our feelings for something with only a limited number of parameters starkly contradicts the openness of human mind, which I feel still is redundant. The replacement of parts thereof, creates an illusion of being the same object At heart and soul, it has changed. I believe our attachment to the object (note with the parts replaced,not aged) renders us blind to the obvious truth. With that being said, i want to draw your attention again to the idea behind this absolutely genius philosophy. Like many other problems, it's power to hold intact our thoughts is underestimated. But once we get into it, it is fun,no?
    P.S- I got your point. It was well made :)

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  5. I think it is more about the emotions attached to the object than the object in itself. The thing might have changed but the way you look at it has not. Like in the case of the car!
    A good post!

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  6. I am glad you finally saw the movie :-) I remember you reading the review on my blog and mentioning how it had got you thinking :-)

    I feel the core never changes and we all evolve with time and our view-points, tastes etc. may change but ultimately our core is greater than the sum of its parts :-)

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    1. I would say TRUE THAT ! Lolzz!
      It is still getting me thinking :) With all the different views pouring in and my own reactions to them, I am still thinking over it ! :) All Thanks to you :)

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  7. I like the point you are trying to make. I do agree to what you are saying when it comes to materialistic things, but for humans, are the changes that big that the person goes from white shade to total black shade? In fact, we don't even know which shade the person really has due to all the pretensions we humans have! It's just that humans' perceptions tweak and adjust in response to the experiences they go through but they don't change so fundamentally that you can't recognize them. If you can't recognize them, you never knew that in the first place!

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    1. Although I read you about 4-5 times, I still do not think I fully get what you're trying to say. From what I gather, is you're saying that people are pretentious assholes(maybe not assholes) and they have been ardwired to have a get along with every situation attitude so the change is fundamental to their existence. But they don't change so dramatically that you don't recognize them.

      Well of course, we would recognise them unless one of them didn't undergo plastic surgery...

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