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Philosophical Question

A photo of JensenHuang JensenHuang
If a wooden ship had all of its planks and masts removed and replaced with new ones, is it still the same ship or is it a different one? Please provide reasoning on why you think so.
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22 replies
 
A photo of lemony lemony
IMO It's the same ship.
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A photo of shelby16 shelby16
No, its different. Your replacing it with something else, which in a sense is something new. Yes its the same design, shape, size and perhaps smell but the fact that you are replacing major items on it make it a new and different ship.
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A photo of mynameismattgotmlgo mynameismattgotmlgo
It's the ship it is now.
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A photo of pumpkinsoup pumpkinsoup
Hmm, interesting question but before I respond I wish to clarify; is there any aspect of the old ship that exists now (i.e. same name, captain, interior decor, purpose etc.) or is it completely changed (i.e. building a new ship)?

To consider the former one must first decide whether the essence of the ship differs from its physical form. Does the memories and purpose of the ship equate to the planks/mast. For beings with "souls" (i.e. humans), a change in physical form does not equate to a change in substance (if you suddenly became deformed cripple, your parents would still love you) but for things such as a chair-or perhaps the ship- this may not be the case.

Sorry for blabbing but these are my thoughts on the matter.
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A photo of heesoup heesoup

@JensenHuang wrote
If a wooden ship had all of its planks and masts removed and replaced with new ones, is it still the same ship or is it a different one? Please provide reasoning on why you think so.




Ah, we discussed this in my philosophy 1020 lecture at Western. There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on how you interpret it. Ask further questions and lay out known ideas. The ship still has the base foundation. Does the ship know that it is still the same ship as before? Is it conscious of its existence & identity? Identity can be dependent on one's consciousness. Humans undergo plastic surgery and physically "change" such as hair growth, height, etc. But does this mean we become a different person? Sorry I sort of went off-tangent from a ship to a person. But you get my point.

If you can back up your argument with some reasoning, your answer will be legit!
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A photo of theboydetective theboydetective
Too difficult to answer. I think it would be hard to find a branch of philosophy that doesn't try to deal with such a question; from Buddhism to German Idealism to Object Oriented Ontology. There have been literally hundreds of thousands of pages written dealing with questions of identity.
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A photo of DoctorLawyerDentist DoctorLawyerDentist
If you throw away a ship, and build a new ship, how is that the same ship?
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A photo of peet2521 peet2521
By any change, you can argue that the ship is no longer the same ship that it was. Let's say I carved my name into it. In another parallel dimension, the ship's steering wheel gets replaced. In both cases, the ship has changed. Your question then, is what size of a change is needed before you can call it a new ship?

In my opinion, we need some more information. Did the ownership change? Did the name change? If not, then no, it's still the same ship.
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A photo of Rourachnitchai Rourachnitchai
What is the essence of the ship's identity?
--I doubt this question is easily answered within a sentence and consists in a specific component of the ship or percentage of the original ship retaining its integrity.

What I can say about the question is that it is arbitrary and (thankfully) a mere problem of human conception.
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A photo of Nyx Nyx
It's a moot point IMO. A ship is a ship is a ship. I don't care if it has new planks or old planks as long as they work.
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A photo of Rourachnitchai Rourachnitchai

@Nyx wrote
It's a moot point IMO. A ship is a ship is a ship. I don't care if it has new planks or old planks as long as they work.



So irrelevant. We're discussing individual identity not classification in a general category nor the goodness of something in fulfilling its intended purpose. Your point in this context is essentially meaningless and your expenditure of energy irritating.

"That's not John"
"I don't care, he's human."
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A photo of Nyx Nyx
ok then :)
i can't philosophize
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A photo of Rourachnitchai Rourachnitchai

@Nyx wrote
ok then :)
i can't philosophize



awww, now I feel like a big meanie. you're never supposed to admit that :<

*hugs*
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A photo of HeroOfCanton HeroOfCanton
The way I see it, this is only a problem due to the ambiguity of the word "same". There's a distinction between quantitative sameness (which makes something the same as itself) and qualitative sameness (which makes two things the same). The ship is not qualitatively the same as it used to be, but quantitatively, it's the same thing. Otherwise, people wouldn't be quantitatively the same person they were seven years ago - bodies constantly and completely replace cells.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@HeroOfCanton wrote
The way I see it, this is only a problem due to the ambiguity of the word "same". There's a distinction between quantitative sameness (which makes something the same as itself) and qualitative sameness (which makes two things the same). The ship is not qualitatively the same as it used to be, but quantitatively, it's the same thing. Otherwise, people wouldn't be quantitatively the same person they were seven years ago - bodies constantly and completely replace cells.



+1
You are now philosoraptor II.
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A photo of Joyxorande Joyxorande
Same ship, but simply upgraded.

Just because i add makeup or actually comb my hair today doesn't change who i am. it's an upgrade.
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A photo of Rourachnitchai Rourachnitchai

@HeroOfCanton wrote
The way I see it, this is only a problem due to the ambiguity of the word "same". There's a distinction between quantitative sameness (which makes something the same as itself) and qualitative sameness (which makes two things the same). The ship is not qualitatively the same as it used to be, but quantitatively, it's the same thing. Otherwise, people wouldn't be quantitatively the same person they were seven years ago - bodies constantly and completely replace cells.



I object to your using those two terms as they describe means of assessing qualities of something and I feel as if you are applying them too loosely.

also: I am not the same person as I was seven years ago in terms of personal identity nor in terms of physical body.
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A photo of cosstickxx cosstickxx
It's the same ship. I would assume there's some kind of frame work that hasn't been changed.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
um, it's still a boat! That's all that matters to me! As long as it doesn't sink i'm okay with it being new or old! :P
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A photo of idylle10 idylle10
What ship? Is there really a ship?
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A photo of LoganGraham LoganGraham
I think that, as long as it has the same core frame, it is the same ship. BUT, if it is completely and utterly dismantled, and assembled using completely new pieces, it is different.

But, honestly:

We have classified that a ship is a collection of certain materials. Technically, it isn't the same ship if even one board, one piece of dust, one molecule is removed.

So, really:

does it really matter? It will inevitable change anyways.
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