CanadysPeak wrote:The Mississippi River is the flow of water in that area generally acknowledged to be the Mississippi River bed. It is never the same water in the same proportions at the same rate. It is often not in the same local location. Yet it remains the Mississippi River.
Keep_Relentless wrote:CanadysPeak wrote:The Mississippi River is the flow of water in that area generally acknowledged to be the Mississippi River bed. It is never the same water in the same proportions at the same rate. It is often not in the same local location. Yet it remains the Mississippi River.
Thank you, I was intending to do the River of Heraclitus next, which is basically a manifestation of this paradox (and the most difficult paradox to explain that I have come across).
Not one part of the original vessel remains
charon wrote:Keep_RelentlessNot one part of the original vessel remains
If nothing of the original remains then it's a new ship. If it was built according to the idea of the old ship then the idea isn't new but the physical vessel itself will be new.
I don't mean this as snarky, but Greek philosophers often didn't have enough to do. Sometimes, things are just contradictory or difficult to categorize/explain.
Keep_Relentless wrote:I am told: "Consider the point in time at which just one or two planks from Theseus' original ship have been replaced. At this stage it seems natural to regard the repaired ship as the original. But then consider a later point, by which time the Athenians have made so many repairs that none of the original material remains. Can we still regard the repaired ship as the same vessel? If we answer yes, we have a problem. Although the ship has changed gradually and incrementally, it has, nonetheless, changed totally. Not one part of the original vessel remains. And if no part of an entity survives, can the entity itself still remain? If, on the other hand, we answer no, we have a different problem. Precisely when did the repaired ship cease to be the Ship of Theseus?"
This appears also to be an analogy for Life. You may ask, If Life evolves is it still Life?
I am inclined to think it is.
Keep_Relentless wrote:I might elaborate more on humans as examples when I analyse the River of Heraclitus, because I am aware that a life form that one is not directly aware of is defined as "Matter that defies the scientific Laws of Nature", which would make other beings a process instead of an object; and a river is also a process, not an object.
But you are an "other being". If Life is the process of animating the inanimate in progressively more complex ways, aren't you part of that process too? And is the process today the same process it was at the beginning?
Keep_Relentless wrote:Therefore, what I instead use to define "life" in terms of others is a motion that defies the scientific Laws of Nature
Gregorygregg1 wrote:Keep_Relentless wrote:Therefore I cannot have conclusive proof that others are alive, ever (it is far more feasible that I may have conclusive proof otherwise).
You may interpret the movement of my hand on this keyboard as "defying the laws of nature", and the appearance of these words on your screen as self doubt.
flannel jesus wrote:What does consciousness have to do with defying the laws of nature?
I tell you what: you figure out a way to make me sure that the matter in my body defies the laws of nature, and I'll do my damned best to help you win that Nobel Prize you so very much deserve.
CanadysPeak wrote:I don't mean this as snarky, but Greek philosophers often didn't have enough to do. Sometimes, things are just contradictory or difficult to categorize/explain.
flannel jesus wrote:Newton's laws are incorrect (though useful for certain predictive purposes), so if you're saying human action defies Newton's Laws, then you're certainly not talking about the actual laws of nature.
owleye wrote:Such puzzles that philosophers work on are those in which progress is very slow, and in fact they lose their appeal once or if they are worked out. However, as it happens, every budding philosopher has to figure them out anew and it turns out that the particular puzzles that philosophers devise, even those on which it is clear that progress has been made, don't have the benefit of understanding the history of ideas that bear on that progress and so we get these endless "debates" on this and other philosophy boards over the "simplest" problems that the ancient greeks worked on and on which substantial progress was actually made during that very lengthy period. In that vain, this board would do well to emphasize the contributions of those who make it their chosen profession to understand the history of ideas and to build on it, as multifaceted as this might be. And because we are blessed with having access to much of it on line, we would be well advised to make use of it. (Indeed, I think there is an attempt here with K_R in his quest to bring himself up to date, but I'd have to say that it would be better if he returned to school, and, so saying, I'd take my own advice if I could.)
owleye wrote:Alternatively, to make the best use of the board, I believe he should try to figure out the puzzle not by quoting what he researches (without, by the way, just regurgitating it without the quotes as he does here), but rather to lay out in his own words what the puzzle is about and signal where he thinks the problem lies, and open that up for discussion, especially if wants to learn something. Where research comes in handy here is that others have done what he needs to do, so presumably he can learn how to best characterize the problem and how to move forward from that characterization. Trial and error still works, even here.
What does any of that have to do with the topic of this thread, Ship of Theseus?
Keep_Relentless wrote:mtbturtle wrote:Keep_Relentless,
What does any of that have to do with the topic of this thread, Ship of Theseus?
The Ship of Theseus is a paradox of change, continuity, and (more broadly) categorisation, and one of it's manifestations is to the physical form of human beings (and other life forms). Perhaps this should have been saved for the River of Heraclitus but of course a paradox identical to the River of Heraclitus was given by CanadysPeak anyway... but rivers are defined as a process, as are life forms, both physically (i.e. apparently) and through our own constant experience (would a fixed consciousness be a consciousness? I think not). My clarification of the River of Heraclitus, that is, that all instants satisfying the condition of the river form the identity of the river, applies also to life forms, and I am trying to set out exactly what that process/identity is for beings that are not directly experienced.
owleye wrote:I think you are leaping too far ahead in the puzzle in your attempt to figure it out. If you are unable to figure out where the problem lies with the Ship, I'm pretty sure you won't be able to figure out the paradox of change and identity of more complex ideas. In particular, should you respond to the question by making it one about processes, I believe you will miss the point of it. This is not to suggest that the idea of a process is not a good idea; it definitely has its place in the discussion -- one taken up in some sense by Whitehead's Process theory -- but I should think it wise to attend to the Ship example, with its planks, before you launch into a discussion of processes.
owleye wrote:From a pedagogical perspective, you could attend to the problem you are facing by having in front of you two opposing positions of the world (reality) that the ancient Greeks devised, one from Heraclitus, the other from Parmenides, that essentially responded to this puzzle by adopting alternative positions. In the case of Heraclitus, using the model of fire, he emphasized that the world is nothing but change, whereas, with Parmenides, the world was an unchanging One. (The consensus today on Heraclitus is more nuanced than this, but for this discussion, this should suffice, and it could warrant your (Canady's) process standpoint. And we may take the Parmenidean picture of reality in such a way that the only things that exist are unchanging things -- i.e. a pluralistic reality, which was later adopted by the Atomists.) Note that given these two positions, as great a philosopher as was Plato, he failed to make any significant progress on it, and his philosophy can be regarded as principally Parmenidean, though instead of it being physical, it was mental, it being more in line with Anaxagoras and his Nous idea. Aristotle could be said to be the philosopher who came up with the breakthrough. You may have encountered him in your researches.
owleye wrote:Notwithstanding, your representation of the area of the problem still holds. The paradox, however, seems to elude you. Heraclitus would argue that ships don't exist at all, any reason for thinking they do would be merely because of the way our mind works, whereas for Parmenides, or his followers, if the ship did exist, it wouldn't change at all. Any change would be an illusion. You might recall Zeno's paradoxes. Despite that these philosophers had great influence in the market place of ideas, there is something unsatisfactory about each of their attempts to solve the problem. How can the ship exist, change and be the same ship? That's the question you should be responding to.
I am told: "Consider the point in time at which just one or two planks from Theseus' original ship have been replaced. At this stage it seems natural to regard the repaired ship as the original. But then consider a later point, by which time the Athenians have made so many repairs that none of the original material remains. Can we still regard the repaired ship as the same vessel? If we answer yes, we have a problem. Although the ship has changed gradually and incrementally, it has, nonetheless, changed totally.
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