A Situationalist Solution to the Ship of Theseus Puzzle

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Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This paper outlines a novel solution to the Ship of Theseus puzzle. The solution relies on situations, a philosophical tool used in natural language semantics among other places. The core idea is that what is true is always relative to the situation under consideration. I begin by outlining the problem before briefly introducing situations. I then present the solution: in smaller situations the candidate is identical to Theseus’s ship. But in larger situations containing both candidates these identities are neither true nor false. Finally, I discuss some worries for the view that arise from the nature of identity, and suggest responses. It is concluded that the solution, and the theory that underpins it, are worth further investigation.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-992
Number of pages19
JournalErkenntnis
Volume81
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • metaphysics, ship of Theseus, persistence, material constitution, identity, situation semantics

ASJC Scopus subject areas