bornyesterday: isn't that problem applicable to human beings? after all, we continually replace our own substance with building blocks taken from food and air. I believe we are entirely new every seven years or so. Since we are treated as continuous entities under the law, that would make the Ship of Theseus the same thing.
Discuss the legal status of the Tin Woodsman, Tin Soldier, and Chopfyt. Can the girl be arrested for bigamy?
No, not quite — one is a ship, one a person. One cannot hold a maritime lien in a person, unless perhaps the person is on navigable waters and the Thirteenth Amendment has been repealed.
Now back to the truly pointless argument
I guess some people on this thread are not law students, bar applicants, or lawyers. *sigh* It may be that some people have souls and likewise some do not, and perhaps even ships have souls. But that is irrelevant to the thousands of years old admiralty law governing the law of ships, except perhaps that to save to soul of a ship salvage is rewarded at the highest order of merit.
bornyesterday: Holmes said it best: The live of the law isn't logic, its experience. We don't have time to wait for answers to philosophical conundrums that may be unanswerable...we need to regulate human conduct now, in order to prevent societies from falling apart. Thus, the law is usually quite good at avoiding logical mysteries that have little effect on everyday private conduct...the law is pragmatic, not philosophical, for the most part.
bornyesterday, you're asking the wrong questions, I'm afraid. Law doesn't concern itself with those issues. The law assumes that an individual has an identity and it's constant. It does the same thing with property. Government is the ultimate pragmatic enterprise.
That said, if you want philosophy here it goes