Debate Magazine

The Ship of Theseus

Posted on the 16 January 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
This seems appropriate to post in honor of the actor, Roger Lloyd-Pack, who passed away today. Not only gave us the unforgettable Trigger, but also Owen in The Vicar of Dibley. And for Potter fans, Barty Crouch Sr. He was one of those great character actors who inhabited the roles he played that generally go unsung compared to often, less talented stars.
To anyone who doesn't remember it, there's a moment in Only Fools and Horses where Trigger gets an award for keeping his broom for 20 years. Then remarks that it's had 17 new heads and 14 new handles. It's funny because of course, what seems like a great achievement isn't really.
But there's a philosophical question in this too, that was originally asked long ago by Plutarch when referring to replacing all the timbers on the Ship of Theseus: if you replace all the timbers on a ship over time (or the head and handle on a broom), is it still the same ship?

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