Viewers watching the TV series WandaVision may have heard the concept of Ship of Theseus for the first time. Are you ready to walk with firm steps toward one of the most challenging questions in philosophy ?
Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment on whether an object with all its original components replaced can remain the same object. Theseus was the legendary Greek founding king of Athens, and the question was posed by ancient philosophers (e.g. Heraclitus and Plato): If Theseus’ ship were kept in a harbour and every part on the ship was replaced one by one, would it then be a new ship?
Some questions that follow are common: If it’s not the same ship, then at what point did it stop being Ship of Theseus? If it’s the same ship, can all the removed pieces be recombined to create a ship, and can it still be Theseus’ ship?
The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy and dates back to around 500-400 BC. It is a common theme in the field of metaphysics.
By the way, metaphysics in philosophy does not mean supernatural, spirit, genie, or fairy as many people think. Its meaning is the most misunderstood word.
Ship in Marvel’s WandaVision Series
Vision asks White Vision. ” Are you familiar with the thought experiment ‘Ship of Theseus? In the field of identity metaphysics…?”
“Naturally, of course,” White Vision replies. Then, he gives a brief overview of Ship of Theseus:
“Ship of Theseus is an artifact found in a museum. Over time, wooden planks rot and are replaced with new planks. When there is no original throne left, is it still the Ship of Theseus?”
White Vision’s description of the Ship of Theseus is good but worth expanding the concept further. The Ship of Theseus is one of the most common and important philosophical concepts of all time. By understanding it and fully unpacking it, we can understand how deep the rabbit hole goes for the nature of identity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“If the original ship of Theseus refurbished planks were put together to create another ship, would that ship be a ship of Theseus
THE FOURTH DIMENSIONAL ANSWER TO THE PARADOX:
The answer to this paradox is explained using the fourth dimension.
Main article: Perdurantism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perdurantism
Ted Sider et al. have argued that treating objects as three-dimensional “time slots” in time, as four-dimensional causal series, can solve the Ark of Theseus problem because in such an approach, all four-dimensional objects remain numerical. while allowing individual time zones to differ from each other, they are the same as themselves. Therefore, the aforementioned river contains different three-dimensional time zones of itself, while remaining numerically the same over time; The same river time zone can never be entered twice, but the same (four-dimensional) river can be entered twice.
(David Lewis, Amelie O. Rorty’de “Survival and Identity” [ed.] The Identities of Persons (1976; U. of California P.) Philosophical Papers I’)
Examples of Ship of Theseus
Same question in different cultures:
In today’s world, as we move towards organ transplantation, corneal regeneration, the completion of the human body with prostheses, hair transplantation, the beauty industry, and transhuman and technologically advanced semi-cybernetic creatures, at least Elon Musk is a question that should be asked before placing brain implants in our brains.
The ship is constantly changing. This time we are the ship.
In the next ten or twenty years, will man still remain the same human being, or are we facing huge changes?