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Aporia (Greek: ἀπορία: impasse; lack of resources; puzzlement; embarassment ) denotes, in philosophy, a philosophical puzzle or state of puzzlement, and, in rhetoric, a rhetorically useful expression of doubt. Socrates (central bare-chested figure) about to drink hemlock as mandated by the court. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is the art or technique of persuasion, usually through the use of language. ...


In philosophy, an aporia is a philosophical puzzle or a seemingly insoluble impasse in an inquiry, often arising as a result of equally plausible yet inconsistent premises. It can also denote the state of being perplexed, or at a loss, at such a puzzle or impasse. The notion of an aporia is principally found in Greek philosophy, but it also plays a role in Derrida's philosophy. Classical (or early) Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. ... Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ...

Plato's early dialogues are often called his 'aporetic' dialogues because they typically end in aporia. In such a dialogue, Socrates questions his interlocutor about the nature or definition of a concept, for example virtue or courage. Socrates then, through elenctic testing, shows his interlocutor that his answer is unsatisfactory. After a number of such failed attempts, the intelocutor admits he is in aporia about the examined concept, that he does not know what it is. In Plato's Meno (84), Socrates describes the purgative effect of reducing someone to aporia: it shows someone who merely thought he knew something that he does not in fact know it and instills in him a desire to investigate it. Plato (ancient Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, wide, broad-shouldered) (c. ... Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, invariably anglicized as , SÇ’cratÄ“s; 470–399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. ... An interlocutor (pronounced in-ter-lock-you-ter) describes someone who informally explains the views of a government and also can relay messages back to a government. ... Socrates Scholasticus; for the Brazilian football player, see Sócrates (football player) Socrates Socrates (June 4, 470 – 399 BC) (Greek Σωκράτης Sōkrátēs) was a Greek (Athenian) philosopher and one of the most important icons of the Western... Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. ...

In Aristotle's Metaphysics aporia plays a role in his method of inquiry. In contrast to a rationalist inquiry that begins from a priori principles, or an empiricist inquiry that begins from a tabula rasa, Aristotle begins his inquiry in the Metaphysics by surveying the various aporiai that exist, drawing in particular on what puzzled his predecessors. Aristotle claims that 'with a view to the science we are seeking (i.e. metaphysics), it is necessary that we should first review the things about which we need, from the outset, to be puzzled' (994a). Book Beta of the Metaphysics is a list of the aporiai that preoccupy the rest of the work. Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... This article is not about continental rationalism. ... The terms a priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish between two different types of propositional knowledge. ... Empiricism is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic. ... Tabula rasa (Latin: scraped tablet or clean slate) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, blank, and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the... Plato and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ...

One strategy to resolve aporia can be found in Soren Kierkegaard’s concept of the knight of faith. In this figure, the paradox is embodied in the subject of desire, and then sublimated by means of unwavering faith. Søren Kierkegaard Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813 - November 11, 1855), a 19th century Danish philosopher, has achieved general recognition as the first existentialist philosopher, though some new research shows this may be a more difficult connection than previously thought. ... The knight of faith is an individual who has placed complete faith in himself and in God. ...

French Philosopher, Jacques Ranciere describes a secular substantiation for the figure of paradox where truths are enacted in the process of a wrong. Specifically, Ranciere describes the subject who is located outside the rights of the law, but yet subject to the abuse of the law. Jacques Rancière is a French philosopher. ...

See also, Giorgio Agamben. Giorgio Agamben (born 1942) is an Italian philosopher who teaches at the Università IUAV di Venezia. ...

One might begin to see both the contiguity and the dissimilarity between Kierkegaard’s and Ranciere’s paradoxical figure. The Knight of Faith resolves aporia by refusing to yield faith (or desire) to experience despite absurdity. Likewise, the Law in Ranciere’s paradox can continue to either preserve the norm despite experience, or suspend the norm in respect to experience. The latter is manifest in the category of the unlawful combatant where suspension safeguards the norm. Here, an aporia is made manifest. Namely, the relegation of the choice to be made between legal and illegal torture is made to look like a genuine question. See, manufactured anomie. On the other hand, for Ranciere, the subject of paradox opens up a dissensus, or a putting of two worlds in one and the same world. Against the lethargy of disenfranchised anomie, this is a paradox that demands reckoning. Could we say this is the period of a profane messianic time that is not limited to singularity? The term unlawful combatant (also unlawful enemy combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent) is a term used by the Bush administration to label certain persons as outside of the protection of the Geneva Conventions; those that have such protections are known as lawful combatants. ... For the band, see Anomie (band) Anomie, in contemporary English, means a condition or malaise in individuals, characterized by an absence or diminution of standards or values. ...


Aporia is also a rhetorical device where the speaker expresses a doubt - often feigned - about his position or asks the audience rhetorically how he or she should proceed. It is also called dubitatio. For example (Demosthenes On The Crown, 129): Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek: Δημοσθένης, Dēmosthénēs) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. ...

I am at no loss for information about you and your family; but I am at a loss where to begin. Shall I relate how your father Tromes was a slave in the house of Elpias, who kept an elementary school near the Temple of Theseus, and how he wore shackles on his legs and a timber collar round his neck? or how your mother practised daylight nuptials in an outhouse next door to Heros the bone-setter, and so brought you up to act in tableaux vivants and to excel in minor parts on the stage?

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See also

  Results from FactBites:
Jacques Derrida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5642 words)
Their treatment of aporia was noted as an affinity.
The aporetic was a recurring structure for Derrida: Derrida strived to render as determinate as possible an interpretation, finding a series of "undecidable" decisions between a series of determinate constructions of interpretations.
The idea of aporia is carried over in other deconstructive readings - particularly those of Paul de Man, whose readings of poems were known for concluding that the poems ended in an aporia.
Hannah Arendt [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] (7110 words)
So for Arendt, our categories and standards of thought are always beset by their potential inadequacy with respect to that which they are called upon to judge.
However, this aporia of judgement reaches a crisis point in the 20th century under the repeated impact of its monstrous and unprecedented events.
The mass destruction of two World Wars, the development of technologies which threaten global annihilation, the rise of totalitarianism, and the murder of millions in the Nazi death camps and Stalin's purges have effectively exploded our existing standards for moral and political judgement.
  More results at FactBites »



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