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 Post subject: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:40 am 
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The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus' paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ship which was restored by replacing each and every one of its wooden parts remained the same ship.

The paradox had been discussed by more ancient philosophers such as Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato prior to Plutarch's writings; and more recently by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. There are several variants, notably "grandfather's axe". This thought experiment is "a model for the philosophers"; some say, "it remained the same," some saying, "it did not remain the same".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

We don't even come close to changing all parts of ourselves like skin, face, feet, hands, etc., but I know that I'm not even the same person as before. :geek:


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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:27 am 
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Slim Titan wrote:
We don't even come close to changing all parts of ourselves like skin, face, feet, hands, etc.,
Ummmm?

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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:12 am 
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Slim Titan wrote:

We don't even come close to changing all parts of ourselves like skin, face, feet, hands, etc., but I know that I'm not even the same person as before. :geek:
Not true.. We have a "brand new body" (meaning every tissue in the body gets replaced by a new one) every 7-10 years.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:18 pm 
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It's a great question for opening the mind, the same discussion is in very old Buddhist writings (and probably older stuff) though as a teaching point with a slightly different lilt.

As far as components - you are actually 100 trillion cells. Each one of those is a living being. In the time you have read this thousands have died and reborn. Not for one split second, EVER, were you a solid object. At no point, ever, were the same thoughts and emotions arising, just perhaps similar patterns that could be found in waves in the ocean (but only if being observed by something with the capacity to recognize it and then call it a 'pattern').

It's an ability of the human mind to abstract all of that into objects. Obviously necessary for our survival and the way we operate. It's only the mind that can conceptualize those components together as "one thing" and call it a ship, or an infinitely complex process and reduce it to a persons name. That is literally the minds job to do, so there are limitations on what dissecting this on the level of mind can do as it cannot go beyond separating/grouping/naming everything it observes. Even "mind" is a conceptualization of a phenomenon, and a truly amazing one. Something that can make you marvel at life itself instead of constantly seeing it as a project.

It's a necessary and useful ability but it is the finger pointing to the moon which has a whole other set of implications in this context. Not just semantics and mental masturbation. The deeper you see how truly "in your own head" we are, opens windows to be out of it and engaged directly with what's happening at a level and depth that makes everything before seem like child's play. :geek:

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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:33 pm 
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◑ Half the time I am in a vacuum. ◐

Matter appears and disappears very rapidly.
(Vacuum fluctuations)

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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:51 am 
Flow83 wrote:
It's a great question for opening the mind, the same discussion is in very old Buddhist writings (and probably older stuff) though as a teaching point with a slightly different lilt.

As far as components - you are actually 100 trillion cells. Each one of those is a living being. In the time you have read this thousands have died and reborn. Not for one split second, EVER, were you a solid object. At no point, ever, were the same thoughts and emotions arising, just perhaps similar patterns that could be found in waves in the ocean (but only if being observed by something with the capacity to recognize it and then call it a 'pattern').

It's an ability of the human mind to abstract all of that into objects. Obviously necessary for our survival and the way we operate. It's only the mind that can conceptualize those components together as "one thing" and call it a ship, or an infinitely complex process and reduce it to a persons name. That is literally the minds job to do, so there are limitations on what dissecting this on the level of mind can do as it cannot go beyond separating/grouping/naming everything it observes. Even "mind" is a conceptualization of a phenomenon, and a truly amazing one. Something that can make you marvel at life itself instead of constantly seeing it as a project.

It's a necessary and useful ability but it is the finger pointing to the moon which has a whole other set of implications in this context. Not just semantics and mental masturbation. The deeper you see how truly "in your own head" we are, opens windows to be out of it and engaged directly with what's happening at a level and depth that makes everything before seem like child's play. :geek:
I actually just stumbled across this while I was debating someone on Facebook. I was looking up a fallacy or paradox that described the way he was arguing, along the lines of fallacy of division or composition.

I didn't bother to give this much thought until now.

So let me get this straight. You're saying that the utility of this thought experiment is in actually seeing the abstraction and seeing how much we do that to get outside of the abstraction?

It would help if you explained some more. I've read this passage a few times and still don't even understand the finger pointing to the moon in this case or how the thought experiment would help you get out of your head.

I'll come back to this tomorrow and read it again with fresh eyes and a quieter environment.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:16 am 
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It's not as much a thought experiment- it's rather difficult to think your way out of your head (though it has happened) :) You can stretch the mind to its own barriers to the point where it essentially collapses, and these are the types of questions that can go there. It usually fails because instead of pushing beyond the barrier, the mind just argues and looks to find more evidence and convincing arguments for why its particular take on the matter is right.. again, because that is what it does. There are probably 10,000 word treatises out there on why no, it really is a ship, or no, it really isn't, which in the end accomplishes little.

This is much more about observation, with a shift in focus. Instead of "observing" oh here is this computer screen and this pen on my desk and this guy somewhere else in the world talking about some philosophical sounding bullshit on this forum I'm looking at.. which is about xyz, and has these types of people in it, and oh this girl walked past and her body language looked like this, which probably means this, and on and on. Instead you do your best to step backwards and actually observe the whole phenomenon taking place, that your mind is taking these shapes and giving them names and then creating stories around them based on memories. You may become immensely present. You have almost literally stepped 'out of your head' and are in direct experience and this is visceral and intense in a way that cant be expressed properly in words, because it can sound like it is just semantics.

Meraki has recommended at least one book (I think in response to you) that is almost entirely exercises like this.

If the idea of dis-identifying with conceptual thought and abstractions sounds strange to anyone, consider the dreamless sleep you enter each night.

What happens to you when you go even a DAY without that dreamless sleep?

Also you've already experienced that when you get more of that sleep, the mind actually gets better at what it does, not worse.

Perhaps that is a direct-experience relatable pointer to one of the implications of this. This is also a big key in phenomenon like yogi's who don't require sleep (this actually exists).

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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:36 am 
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I am not the same person you knew when you were younger

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In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject.He keeps chiseling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions. Perfection is not when there is no more to add,but no more to take away.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:24 pm 
What is a yogi?


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 Post subject: Re: The Ship of Theseus
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:33 am 
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