How to Test the Ship of Theseus

Dialectica 74 (3) (2020)
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The story of the Ship of Theseus is one of the most venerable conundrums in philosophy. Some philosophers consider it a genuine puzzle. Others deny that it is so. It is, therefore, an open question whether there is or there is not a puzzle in the Ship of Theseus story. So, arguably, it makes sense to test empirically whether people perceive the case as a puzzle. Recently, David Rose, Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich and forty-two other researchers from different countries have undertaken that task. We argue that their tests do not provide any evidence that bears on the question as to whether the Ship of Theseus case is a genuine puzzle. In our discussion we address also what should be taken into account if one wishes to test the puzzling, or not puzzling, status of the Ship of Theseus story.

Author Profiles

Genoveva Martí
ICREA And University Of Barcelona
Enrico Terrone
Università degli Studi di Genova
Marta Campdelacreu
Universitat de Barcelona
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