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I think that the argument is not that the river becomes something that is not a river, but that its own traits change. It is indeed defined as a dynamic flow of molecules- thus, the molecules will be in different positions all the time and the river will change property.
Vladimir wrote:I want to say that I think all the arguments for this are fallacies.
By saying "river" we are merely saying WHERE that water is.
Do entities (like rivers) persist through time despite constant flux? We do indeed identify the river as having one name (river x at spatial location A, in our case) but that doesn't mean we are logically justified in this reference. The question becomes, "What makes a river, a river?" and then "what makes river x, river x?" Is it the state of affairs (flowing water) or the content (individual molecules in certain places) or both? This is the problem of identity.
The original post is not the presentation of an argument, it is the statement of an unsolved philosophical problem. In terms of ordinary langauge, our typical reaction is like that of Vladimir. Ordinary langauge, however, is not the end of the matter. It is the beginning of it.
Reality does not consist of stable and unchanging objects. Reality itself is a process. What we think of as material objects are in fact, as Whitehead put it, occasions of experience. They are experiential in nature, not strictly material.Right, which leads us to "the problem of identity". Am I the same person now that I was 5 minutes ago despite the destruction of thousands of my cells and the formation of thousands of new ones? Despite changing thoughts, despite new nutrients in my body, and old ones gone?
The only intuitively satisfying answer to this question, that I am aware of, is metaphysical Realism. Matter does not determine identity -- not for me, not for a river. It is rather, the mixture of a universal with a particular which creates substance, which offers us a philosophical picture of identity that meshes comfortably with our prephilosophical notions of identity.
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