Part of the reason I haven't been writing more is that I've become really really busy again. I've gone back to graduate school, this time for Historic Preservation. My girlfriend is trying grad school out for the first time; she's doing Architecture and working 16hr days, 7days/week. I don't know how she's doing it, but she is. Luckily, our programs are in the same building so we can eat lunch together.
Engaging with the philosophical and ethical aspects of Historic Preservation is somewhat new to me. My previous experiences have been practical/material, or legal/policy-related. However, a lot of the philosophical/ethical issues have been addressed in past classes I took on anthropology and museum studies, so this stuff is fairly comfortable, just not exciting.
Something that came up in a random research dive is the Ship of Theseus Paradox, or more simply the Theseus Paradox. In it's shortest form, the philosophical paradox reads:
"If an object composed of multiple parts gradually has its parts replaced over time, at what point does it cease to be the original object, and becomes a new object?"I was absolutely gobsmacked that I had never encountered this concept in its named, simply-stated form, as I had been unwittingly been addressing this paradox since my first year of college! The first class I took as an undergraduate was called "Primitive Skills in the Modern World," where we demonstrated and discussed traditional skills like pottery, woodcarving, and hair-braiding to each other. My undergraduate adviser is a renowned expert in the making and throwing of stone-tipped spears, and he guided my senior research in non-synthetic, traditional adhesive recipes.
More after the jump...