A Reaction to Hobbes Ship of Theseus
Filed Under: Music & Film, Opinion | Posted: 11/21/2008 at 10:34PM
Comments | Region: California | United States
In Hobbes Ship of Theseus we have to consider the differences between qualitative sameness and identical sameness. Qualitative sameness says that two things are only roughly the same while identical sameness says that two things are identical, or that there is really only one thing..
The first question asks whether the reconstructed ship is the original ship, and the answer to this question is yes. A ship is really just made of many planks of wood, so if you replace each of the planks in the original ship with new planks of wood eventually you end up with a whole new ship. You have just basically used the original ship as a template to build a new ship. The original ship ceased to exist upon the replacement of the planks with new ones at least until the old planks were reconstructed. A person’s identity cannot be split in to parts, however a ship can.
The original planks are then reconstructed bringing the original Ship of Theseus back in all her former glory.. The one that has had the new planks has become a ship with qualitative sameness to the original ship. It would only be roughly the same as the original ship giving it a qualitative identity, but the reconstructed ship shares the exact sameness as the original and so is exactly the same ship as before.
The original Ship of Theseus had only ceased to exist during deconstruction.
Now, the question of which ship is the real ship of Theseus is, of course, the reconstructed ship. You can only argue that the second ship shares all the qualities of the original ship, but there are still two ships upon completion. This makes it impossible that the ship with the new planks could share identical sameness with the original because there are still two ships that do not share the same space at the same time. One ship is built resembling the other.