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#769911
I am sure everyone knows the old argument. You can't get into the same river twice, as the river would have changed, and thus become a different river. Some like to take the argument further and claim that nothing is ever the same as time flows. I myself writing this is a different person to one writing this. I want to say that I think all the arguments for this are fallacies. The confusion comes form the absence of an accurate definition of the word 'river' or 'person' or anything else. Does one define a river as a completely stationary body of water molecules, or as a dynamic body of molecules, which is contained by riverbanks and the riverbed? I am sure that everyone would agree on a river being a dynamic system, as well as any other object. So, the arguments are false and groundless.
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By ~Magius~
#769935
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.
By Steven_K
#769944
Well, Heraclitus (who is credited with that position) is actually a much more complex philosopher than that quote lets on (he predicted Hegel in some ways) but focusing exclusivly on that argument: the river remains a river even if it is not the same river. He never argued for the impermanence of definitions, only that definitions are a false permanence and that the actual world is in constant flux, a true observation. Of course, he takes it further than this into a cosmology of tension between entropy and order, which regardless of that tension exist in a unity of necessity.
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By Vladimir
#770030
So all philosophical conundrums and problems are products of inaccurate definitions?

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.

The argument says that the river you got in first time is non-existent when you get into 'it' the second time.
If the river changes its property, it is still the same river by definition.
By Steven_K
#770099
Things can be accomidated nominally without really addressing the issue that is at the centre of things. Heraclitus wasn't arguing with the definition of the word 'river', he was presenting a cosmology based on constant flux. The river example was just to illustrate his point.
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By Vladimir
#770198
Oh, ok. I agree with him, things are never stationary. All definitions have to accommodate the concept of flux.
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By Vivisekt
#770218
Vladimir wrote:I want to say that I think all the arguments for this are fallacies.

I agree, it is fallacious argument. Sophistry at best. I have an especially bitter disdain for arguments of that type, because they are arguments which necessarily undermine conceptual logic, knowledge, and reason. In effect, if the river is never the same river, and a person is never the same person, and A is never actually A, then things are never functionally what they are, nothing can be known with any certainty, and all knowledge becomes so much arbitrary goo. It's a reprehensible sort of anti-intellectualism.
By Theimmortal1
#770473
My problem with the argument is with the term river. I don't see a "river" as a real entity. A river is just merely a location. A river is just basically water, the same water as whats in my cup in front of me and the same water thats in my toilet. By saying "river" we are merely saying WHERE that water is.
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By ComradeRick-CL
#784928
i believe you are referring to heraclitus correct.

if you look at a certain river one minute and then a minute look at it again, yes it will appear the same, but as each milisecond passes tiny traits of the river are changing, it is true you cant walk in the same river twice
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By Vladimir
#785238
Again, we must examine the definition of the term 'river'. The answer is, there is no universal definition. So, I suppose every argument is right.
By Aeschylus
#785478
By saying "river" we are merely saying WHERE that water is.


No, we're saying more than that: if there exists a river x, such that x occupies spatial location A, we are indeed saying that water is at spatial location A, but also that it is a narrow body of water, and that the water is moving downhill. The whole conceptual definition of river is invoked when a body of water is predicated of the term river.

While reducing the definition of river to mere spatial reference, and leaving out temporality makes the matter easy to brush aside, if we actually adopted this kind of thinking in ordinary language, we would be hopelessley confused even at our own thoughts. Entities that can be quantified with existence are necessarily spatio-temporal. If they did not both occupy space and have being through time, we would not say that they have any material existence. That is where the whole difficulty comes from:

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.
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By ComradeRick-CL
#790660
philosophy about philosophy
By Aeschylus
#791475
philosophy about philosophy


I am not sure what you are trying to say...
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By Vladimir
#798351
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.

Is it not up to us to decide what the term 'river' means? Of course, there is no precise definition present anywhere, which leads to confusion. If in a universal dictionary it was written 'a constant flux of water molecules occupying a volume from point A(mountain) to point B(sea)', then there would be no confusion.
Now, as you said, if things have no frame of reference in time, they are non-existent to us, and thus have no place in our minds. Therefore, you can step in the same river twice, as a static river is non-existent.
I agree on the need for us to argue the correct definition, as there is more than one answer.
By Aeschylus
#798877
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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By Vladimir
#798959
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.

Yes, I agree with this.
By Aeschylus
#799174
Yes, I agree with this.
Aren't you some kind of marxist/leninist?
By Liberal Scum
#799634
Time is only measurable by change in entropy, and since it's next to impossible to decrease entropy, the proposition holds.
By Aeschylus
#799691
Time is only measurable by change in entropy, and since it's next to impossible to decrease entropy, the proposition holds.

Which position, holds, exactly?

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