Donnerstag, 12. Februar 2015

The Ship of Theseus

Well, after a longer creative break I am back.

Today I have for you my version of the ship of Theseus. That is a thought experiment which was passed down at first by the ancient biographer and philosopher Plutarch (1./2. cent. A.D.).


  1. Theseus, a greek hero, returns after a good many of adventures with his ship back home.  The ship is a bit battered, because of that he orders to exchange some of the planks at the shipyard.

    What do you think: Is that still the ship of Theseus?

  2. The dwellers of his home isle are so fond of Theseus and his heroic deeds that they even after his dead cherish his ship and host a parade every year at the day he returned from his cruises. They adorned the ship with flowers, and his crew navigated the ship once around the isle to return again into the harbour under deafening cheers.

    Is that still the ship of Theseus?

  3. After hundred years the tradition of the celebration still lives on. Nobody who was back then part of the party still lived, but their descendants continued to celebrate the return of Theseus at the very day. Even the ship has become older, and over the years they have exchanged all the planks and replaced by new ones.

    Is that still the ship of Theseus?

  4. Then a young ship craftsman finds the original planks in the shed of the shipyard and builds the ship according to the original construction plan painstakingly of the original planks.

    Which one of the two ships is now the ship of Theseus?

  5. Two hundred years later the tradition of the celebration of the return of Theseus of his big cruise died out after none of the descendants of the returnees could tell the story anymore. Now already nobody remembered that there has ever been such a celebration. But then one of the descendants of the ship craftsman finds a report about the celebration and the construction plan of the ship at the attic. He likes it so much that he reintroduces the tradition and makes a big funfair of it.

    Is that the ship of Theseus?

What do you think, which part of the ship is that one that counts?


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