‘Only Fools And Horses’ star Roger-Lloyd-Pack has sadly passed away aged 69, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The actor, best known for playing daft road sweep Trigger in the iconic BBC sitcom, leaves behind a legacy of laughs, but also an unexpected philosophical message… The ‘Trigger’s Broom’ Paradox.
Fans will remember a classic ‘Only Fools And Horses’ scene in which the character boasts about receiving an award from the council for keeping the same broom for 20 years: “This old broom has had 17 new heads, and 14 new handles in its time,” insists Trigger, to a roar of laughter.
“How the hell can it be the same bloody broom then?” comes the reply from his confused pals.
Only, Trig was on to something, unknowingly explaining a philosophical concept of identity known as ‘The Ship Of Theseus’. And the cult clip is now used to teach the idea to Philosophy students throughout UK universities.
The tricky paradox asks whether an object that has had all of its components replaced, remains fundamentally the same object?
Greek historian Plutarch used the concept to question if a ship that had had each of its wooden parts changed was it still the same ship, and it’s even used to ask if individual people remain the same, as the human body “restores itself” regularly.
(Or were girl band The Sugababes actually still The Sugababes, following a total line-up change?)
Only now the idea is becoming known as something more endearing to British students' ears, the beautifully named ‘Trigger’s Broom’ Paradox.
R.I.P. Trigger. You wise old soul.