Ship of Theseus - Theseus' Paradox



In the Ship of Theseus paradox, the nature of identity is examined. This is a theme that has recurred in many different situations since the Greek days.

According to Greek legend, Theseus was a famous sailor who had a ship. The ship was well known and had 30 oars. When Theseus died, the ship was put up for public display. Over the years as the various planks and boards rotted out, the local caretakers would replace them with new, matching boards.

Over time, of course, ALL of the planks had rotted at one time or another, and had been replaced. So nothing remained of the actual "original" ship - and yet the ship was still called Theseus' ship and considered to be the authentic original.

This thought was updated in the Wizard of Oz, where the woodcutter has all of his body parts cut off and replaced with metal versions. Is he still the same person, if all of his parts are gone? His body parts are actually glued together later in the book. Now which one is "him" - the Tin version or the body-part version?

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