Ship of Theseus


The ship of Theseus has a simple solution: the only inherent thing is the universe itself. The reason many people struggle with SoT is because they thing that the ship itself is an inherent thing in the universe. It isn’t. Ship means exactly what we define it to mean. If we say that a ship consists of wood and floats and if more than 50% of the wood which was there when it was build is not longer there then it is no longer a ship there is obviously no problem with this definition. Once more than 50% of the ship is gone, it is no longer the SoT but another new ship.

The reason we argue about definitions is to find the best definition – the one which would help us describe the universe and communicate with one another most effectively. It is NOT to describe actual things in the universe.

Most people think of the universe of consisting of many objects which we are attempting to describe. This makes no sense. We don’t describe any objects, ever. We only state definitions and then if we think something we perceive fits that definition then we may refer to it in that way.


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