Throughout our life, we inhabit different layers of identity. Constantly changing and evolving we are finding ourselves. We manage to create the concrete image of ourselves, that this me! Ship of Theseus talks about identity. A Brillant thought experiment, Ship Of Theseus. An ancient experiment which is about the metaphysics of identity. It is one of the oldest experiments in western philosophy. So, let’s begin with understanding the phrase “Ship of Theseus”. Theseus was a Greek king, founder of Athens, and son of Aegeus. So, why is he here? What do we do of Ship of Theseus? How a Prince’s ship become such a brilliant thought experiment? Let’s understand this concept deeply and know who this become such a great part of western philosophy.
Philosophy is all about raising questions like Who I am? Why am I? As a philosophical phrase Ship of Theseus also raises such questions. So, let’s begin understanding the concept and the question it raises.
Meaning of Ship of Theseus
As we know Theseus was Prince of Athens. So, he went for a battle and won the battle and return to his palace by ship. That ship was kept in Athens was a memory and trophy. The plank of the ship started getting rotten and it gets replaced with a new one. Is the ship now the same ship or not?
The question that it raises is, the ship is still the same ship that was in the memory or the trophy of Theseus, or because all its planks have been changed…so, the ship is also changed or it is the same. This is called the Ship of Theseus paradox or Theseus paradox. A greek historian and writer, Plutarch examined this more lucidly and said that,
“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.”
There is another theory for this… what if someone makes a ship from all that rotten or original planks?? Would that be the ship of Theseus?? or that whose planks keep on getting renew??
As we know now that what ship of Theseus is and what is the paradox? But what if w bring this into human loves? Humans are always learning and evolving throughout their life. They learn new things and grow themselves like that! So, are they the same person when they were born? Take an example, You move from your hometown to a different city, learning new things, made new friends, constantly changing yourself, adapting the environment of the place. So, does that make you a different person, the person you were in your hometown? You’re still you but your views, friends, lifestyle has changed! Does this make you a different person? Tell us what you think about this in the comment section.
Kya tum vo hi inssan ho ya nhi? Kyonki tumahre soch, vihwaas, dost or zindgi todhi badal gyi hai tohh kya tum bhi badal gye ho?
There is a movie directed by Anand Gandhi, Ship of Theseus. The movie was released in 2013. The IMDB rating for the movie is 8.1 and the movie is about life and death. The is says that all tell that the human body regenerates entirely in 7 years. Statistics suggest that globally over 1,00,000 organs are transplanted every year. Our ideologies, principles, beliefs, all change with time and our current level of maturity. Extending the Theseus paradox, can we then say we are the same person after all the replacements? Ship of Theseus a movie that makes you think about life, beliefs, and death. The movie has different layers and tells the story of 3 different people and all of them are related to organ donation. In the end, all the three stories come up together and make the Ship of Theseus an incredible movie.
Keep the Theseus paradox in your mind otherwise, you will feel like you have wasted 2 hours of your life. The movie can really change your life if you watch it carefully or just a waste of time. If we will write more about i’ we will give you some spoilers. One of the masterpieces of Indian Cinema and a highly underrated movie. It is available on Kunal Kamra’s Youtube channel. So, before anyone else tells you to watch the movie or before the movie gets removed or something, please watch Ship of Theseus.
Tell us what you think about the Theseus paradox? What describes the identity of a person?