Ha ha, after reading this from your Ship of Theseus link:
The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus' paradox, is a thought experiment that raises
the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains
fundamentally the same object.
I just realised that the well-read Larry
was probably aware of this philosophical teaser
when he wrote
Seriously, what makes Perl Perl?
If someone decides I'm ugly and beats my face to a pulp,
and later I get a face transplant, am I still me?
If my bones rot and are replaced with synthetics,
at what point am I a different person?
Syntax is just skin. Semantics are just bones.
Neither is the soul of Perl, which rests in the realm of pragmatics.