Unit 2: Metaphysics
Classic Formulation as Recounted by Plutarch
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.
Citation and Use
Plutarch. “Theseus.” Internet Classics Archive, n.d. http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/theseus.html.
This is in the public domain.
Theseus leaves Athens on a 30-year journey in a brand new ship. During the course of this journey, parts of the ship wear out. As parts wear out, they are replaced with new parts. At the same time,
Theseus is dogged by a scavenger. She collects each of the discarded parts and begins to reassemble them in the same pattern.
By the time Theseus returns, every single part of the ship has been replaced. Theseus and the Scavenger arrive in Athens at the same time.
Which ship (scavenger’s or Theses’) is the ship that left Athens?
- This section was written by Henry Imler ↵