Farmer Joe and his truck.

‡ Joe is a retired GM engineer ‡Joe has always farmed in addition to his other work. ‡Engineers do not hire others to maintain their vehicles. It¶s a matter of pride. ‡Farmers do not hire others to maintain their vehicles. It¶s a matter of pride and economics ‡Joe always reserves one truck for farm duty: ³Old Beater.´ ‡He hangs on to these farm trucks as long as possible, nursing them for decades throughout the travails of farm duty. Once again, a matter of pride, some economics. ‡Joe is a regular at several area autoparts stores, and has friends inside GM that can find him any part he needs.

‡The ³Newest´ old beater was purchased Oct. 1, 1985.

‡It¶s October 30, 1985, and Joe is tooling around in the farm fields. ‡He kicks up a stone that takes out a his left tail light. ‡What does he do?

‡A week later he knocks out a headlight? The month after, a tire goes flat. ‡Early 1989 he bends the rear axle. ‡1995 he makes the first replacement of a part from the transmission; The oil cooler.

‡For years this goes on. He never replaces a huge ³chunk´ of the truck at any one time, but always replaces one single part at a time. ‡Over time, he actually rebuilds the engine one small piece at a time; one piston ring, one piston, one valve, one gasket at a time.

‡It is now July, 2009. Joe still proudly uses Old Beater. The truck odometer (which has been replaced as well) has turned over several times. ‡I am visiting, and notice the truck, aside from having a hood that doesn¶t match in color, is still hanging in there and looks the same. ‡Joe assures me that every part has been replaced over the last 23 years. ‡Yes, even the VIN identifier.

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
‡Why you might say ³yes´ ‡Why you might say ³no´

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
‡Why you might say ³yes´ ‡It is the truck he was driving yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before that day, & etc.. «which is the same truck he drove out of the showroom back in October 1985 ‡Why you might say ³no´

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
‡Why you might say ³yes´ ‡It is the truck he was driving yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before that day, & etc.. «which is the same truck he drove out of the showroom back in October 1985 ‡Why you might say ³no´ ‡The truck he is driving around in July 2009 is composed of nothing but replacement parts. None of the original parts are contained in it.

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
‡Why you might say ³yes´ ‡It is the truck he was driving yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before yesterday, which is the same truck as he drove the day before that day, & etc.. «which is the same truck he drove out of the showroom back in October 1985 ‡Why you might say ³no´ ‡The truck he is driving around in July 2008 is composed of nothing but replacement parts. None of the original parts are contained in it. ‡What other reasons can you think of?

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985? This is a classic philosophical question:
‡These are questions that persist even when ³all the facts of the case are in.´ ‡We learn all the facts of this case when we hear the ³life history´ of Old Beater. There is no new fact that we can learn that will determine for us whether or not the truck Joe is using on the farm is identical to the truck he drove off the showroom floor in 1985. ‡If we cannot answer the question or resolve the puzzle by finding some new deciding facts, how then? ‡Philosophical argument. A reasoned examination of the logical consequences of the affirmation or denial of certain definitions of identity. ‡[What other areas of questioning have this feature?]

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985? This is a classic philosophical question:
‡What other areas of questioning have this feature? ‡Metaphysical example? ‡Are there material things? ‡Ethical example? ‡ Should the IDF use precision munitions to return fire on a school building when HAMAS is intentionally firing missiles into civilian areas from the building courtyard, even when the IDF knows returning fire will cause collateral damage (kids, teachers..)?

‡Back to Farmer Joe!

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985? All attempts at a resolution rely in some way on a very intuitive logical principle of identity, vis:
‡If A and B are identical, then, for every single property that A has, B will also have it. ‡This is sometimes given a more technical formulation in symbols, and given the forbidding sounding moniker: ³the principle of the indescernibility of identicals.´ We¶ll call it PRINID for short.

‡In words the above says: ³For any x and any y, if x is identical to y, then, for any property P, x has P if and only if y has P.

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
One argument against identity uses a narrow ³parts formulation´ of PRINID:
P 1. For any two objects (A and B) the following is true: If A is identical to B, then for any part that A has, B also has it. P 2. The truck that left the showroom in 1985 had parts 1, 2, 3, 4, ..1000, «10,000, « etc. P3. The truck being driven today by Joe lacks all these parts. C4. Therefore: The truck that left the showroom in 1985 is not identical to the truck that is being driven today by Joe. {Question for considerations: On this view, how many trucks does Joe own over the course of the 24 years? What does common sense say? Is there a disagreement between the two views?}

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
One argument for identity uses a somewhat liberal version of the ³all properties´ formulation of PRINID:
P 1. For any two objects (A and B) the following is true: If A is identical to B, then B is the ³closest continuer´ of A (shares the most properties with A). P 2. The truck that left the showroom in 1985 (A) had properties 1, 2, 3, 4, ..1000, «10,000, « etc. The truck on Oct. 30 (B) had all these properties except one. The two have most properties in common. So, those two trucks were identical. P3. The same holds for each pair of ³pre´ and ³post´ partreplacement trucks (B/C, C/D..), up to and including the last such pair. P4. Identity is transitive; that is, if A is identical to B, and B to C, then A is identical to C. This chain argument can be applied all the way down the chain of trucks from 1985 to 2009. C4. Therefore: The truck that left the showroom in 1985 is identical to the truck that is being driven today by Joe.

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
One argument for identity uses a somewhat liberal version of the ³all properties´ formulation of PRINID:
P 1. For any two objects (A and B) the following is true: If A is identical to B, then B is the ³closest continuer´ of A (shares the most properties with A). P 2. The truck that left the showroom in 1985 had properties 1, 2, 3, 4, ..1000, «10,000, « etc. The truck on Oct. 30 had all these properties except one. The two have most properties in common. So, those two trucks were identical. P3. The same holds for each pair of ³pre´ and ³post´ part-replacement trucks, up to and including the last such pair. P4. Identity is transitive; that is, if A is identical to B, and B to C, then A is identical to C. This chain argument can be applied all the way down the chain of trucks from 1985 to 2009. C4. Therefore: The truck that left the showroom in 1985 is identical to the truck that is being driven today by Joe.

Questions for consideration: 1. Can there be more than one closest continuer of a truck? 2. If so, which is identical to its ³parent´ or ³ancestor´ truck?

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
Which argument do you agree with?

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
Which argument do you agree with? Why?

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
Which argument do you agree with? Why? One last monkey wrench: Suppose you do not think the case rises to the level of being a philosophical problem. Ok, would there be a problem if it were the case that farmer Joe has, all along, been keeping the original parts..

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
Which argument do you agree with? Why? One last monkey wrench: Suppose you do not think the case rises to the level of being a philosophical problem. Ok, would there be a problem if it were the case that farmer Joe has, all along, been keeping the original parts.. As a pile of parts in his pole barn, Or..

Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985?
Which argument do you agree with? Why? One last monkey wrench: Suppose you do not think the case rises to the level of being a philosophical problem. Ok, would there be a problem if it were the case that farmer Joe has, all along, been keeping the original parts.. As a pile of parts in his pole barn, Or.. As a reconstructed whole in the pole barn?

Well, Now what do you think? Questions: Is the truck Joe is driving identical to the truck he purchased in 1985? What about that non-functioning truck in the polebarn? Did the truck Joe drove stop being the same truck as the showroom truck at some point? Where exactly, in the process did this happen? What does this say about creation and destruction of trucks?

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