Sample Essay on Ship of Theseus

Ship of Theseus

According to historians, Theseus, a King in ancient Greece founded Athens, today major city in the country. He was not an ordinary King. He won a series of naval battles, winning the public support. As a result, no one wanted to forget him event after his death. His history and successes was to run through generations by preserving something that would speak on his behalf and make future generations believe in his work. The people of Athens decided to dedicate a memorial to him in by maintaining his ship in the port. Because of the dedication of the people, the ship of Theseus was to spend hundreds of years in the port.

However, as hundreds of years of went by, parts of the ship started rotting since they were made of wood. This could not hinder the people of Athens from preserving the ship further as they replaced the rotting planks of wood with new ones. This was not just a replacement, but also a source of many questions that would later haunt the history of the ship. The main question was whether the ship was to remain the “ship of Theseus” after the replacement of planks of wood or if it was to assume a different name. With this replacement, was the ship in its original state, which the King used? This became a major question in philosophy, especially when analyzing the problem of identity. Many questions arose including the meaning of a physical object and the identity of things after some time. Additionally, people questioned the point at which an object changes from its original form to become something different. What does mean for an object to change?

In the same manner, did the ship of Theseus change after hundreds of years or did it become something else after the replacement of planks of wood? Better still, the question of replacing wooden planks focused on the number of planks that would give the ship a new look. For example, would the ship remain the “Ship of Theseus” if forty-nine, fifty-one or ninety-nine planks of wood were removed? Was the original state of the ship the same after removing a plank at the bottom? What would happen to the ship if all the planks were removed and replaced with new ones? How gradual should the change be so as not to temper with the original state of the ship?

Various scholars and theorists hold divergent views about these questions, which revolve around the identity of the ship after replacing rotting planks of wood. Some have maintained that by altering any part of the ship makes it different from the ship of Theseus. On the other hand, some hold that the ship of Theseus remains the same as long as there is at least an original plank still present. This is because the plank that remains carries the original state of the ship. Which side is correct and which one is incorrect? Philosophers argue that both positions can be valid and wrong. Nevertheless, the question of identity is a major one as the original form of the ship gradually changed with the replacement of wooden planks of wood, which were rotting.

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