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Question in Reality

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Suppose that there was a very old, historically significant wooden ship that we wished to preserve.

As it ages we notice a couple planks starting to rot and so we replace these rotten boards with identical replicas.

At this point I would be inclined to say that not one of us would accuse this ship of being not the original, real ship.

Suppose that this procedure of replacing rotting and broken ship parts continued until every last part of the original ship had been replaced over the course of a great many years.

Suppose that someone had collected all of the original, less than perfect, boards and had reassembled them into the original ship.

Now, which of these two ships would we consider to be the real, original ship?

  1. The ship that had been methodologically repaired over many years, or
  2. The ship that had been reassembled from all of the original components?

(I read this – more or less – somewhere else, but I can’t remember where right now. Regardless, I found it to be a very interesting question.)

-RW

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Categories: Philosophy
  1. October 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    i would say neither.

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