Ship of Theseus

According to Wikipedia, in the metaphysics of identity, the Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether a ship, standing for any object in general that has had all of its components replaced is the same object. I’m pleased that this process has a name, because I have long practiced it.

I bought my Litespeed bicycle new in 2001 and immediately began upgrading it with new parts. I ordered them online and as time went on this practice became so common that the FedEx man once remarked to Anne, “I think your husband is building a new bike.” When I got home, Anne greeted me with a Cheshire grin and announce, “You’re busted! The FedEx man has outed you.”

Eventually, I replaced every part save one, the frame, which I still use. The frame is the heart of the bike. It’s a titanium mountain bike frame. I called the bike a Litespeed, but the only part of it that is truly a Litespeed was this frame.

It’s a Pisgah. It is named after the Pisgah national forest, which is located in western North Carolina. The forest was named after a biblical mountain that is located in the land of Moab (There’s an interesting coincidence.) and it is the mountain that Moses saw the promised land from, before he died, but I digress.

So, my Ship of Theseus, my bicycle, is not truly such, because its key element has never been replaced. It is still original. It looks original too. Its decals are worn, but other than them the frame is as new looking as the day I bought it. I could order new decals. I had to order a replacement emblem, the one on the front of the steering tube, because it fell off, but I don’t think that I’ll ever replace the decals. Their worn appearance is like a badge of honor.

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