Aporia

aporeticaporeticallyquizzicalityἀπορίαἀπορία ''aporia
In philosophy, Aporia is a puzzle or state of puzzlement.wikipedia
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Jacques Derrida

DerridaDerrida, JacquesDerrida, J.
In William Harmon's A Handbook to Literature, for example, aporia is identified as "a difficulty, impasse, or point of doubt and indecision", while also noting that critics such as Jacques Derrida have employed the term to "indicate a point of undecidability, which locates the site at which the text most obviously undermines its own rhetorical structure, dismantles, or deconstructs itself" (39).
By demonstrating the aporias and ellipses of thought, Derrida hoped to show the infinitely subtle ways in which this originary complexity, which by definition cannot ever be completely known, works its structuring and destructuring effects.

Plato

dialoguesPlato's dialoguesPlatonic dialogue
Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.
Whereas those classified as "early dialogues" often conclude in aporia, the so-called "middle dialogues" provide more clearly stated positive teachings that are often ascribed to Plato such as the theory of Forms.

Ancient Greek philosophy

Greek philosopherGreekGreek philosophers
The notion of an aporia is principally found in Greek philosophy, but it also plays a role in post-structuralist philosophy, as in the writings of Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray, and it has also served as an instrument of investigation in analytic philosophy.
The fact that many conversations involving Socrates (as recounted by Plato and Xenophon) end without having reached a firm conclusion, or aporetically, has stimulated debate over the meaning of the Socratic method.

Meno

Meno's paradoxeponymous dialogueme'''no
After a number of such failed attempts, the interlocutor admits he is in aporia about the examined concept, concluding that he does not know what it is. In Plato's Meno (84a-c), 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.
The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to confusion or aporia.

Socratic method

Socraticmaieuticelenchus
Socrates then, through elenctic testing, shows his interlocutor that his answer is unsatisfactory.
Most Socratic inquiries consist of a series of elenchi and typically end in puzzlement known as aporia.

Pyrrhonism

PyrrhonistPyrrhonistsPyrrhonian
In Pyrrhonism aporia is intentionally induced as a means of producing ataraxia.
Pyrrhonians (or Pyrrhonism) can be subdivided into those who are ephectic (a "suspension of judgment"), zetetic ("engaged in seeking"), or aporetic ("engaged in refutation").

Metaphysics (Aristotle)

MetaphysicsMetaphysicaAristotle wrote in Metaphysics
In Aristotle's Metaphysics, aporia plays a role in his method of inquiry.
Book III or Beta lists the main problems or puzzles (ἀπορία aporia) of philosophy.

Rhetorical question

rhetoricallyrhetorically askingrhetorically asks
Aporia is also a rhetorical device whereby the speaker expresses a doubt—often feigned—about his position or asks the audience rhetorically how he or she should proceed.
Aporia

Figure of speech

figures of speechlocutionfigure
Figure of speech
aporia: Faked or sincere puzzled questioning

Discrediting tactic

discreditdiscreditingdiscreditation
One aim of aporia may be to discredit the speaker's opponent.
Aporia

Thought experiment

thought experimentsgedanken experimenthypothetical question
Thought experiment
Aporia

Philosophy

philosophicalphilosopherhistory of philosophy
In philosophy, Aporia is a puzzle or state of puzzlement.

Rhetoric

rhetoricianrhetoricalrhetor
In rhetoric, it is a useful expression of doubt.

George Puttenham

PuttenhamThe Arte of English Poesie
In George Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie (1589), aporia is "the Doubtful, [so] called...because often we will seem to caste perils, and make doubts of things when by a plaine manner of speech we might affirm or deny [them]".

Herbert Weir Smyth

Smyth, Herbert WeirSmythSmyth, H.W.
Herbert Weir Smyth's Greek Grammar (1956) also focuses on the rhetorical usage by defining aporia as "an artifice by which a speaker feigns doubts as to where he shall begin or end or what he shall do or say" (674).

Post-structuralism

post-structuralistpoststructuralistpoststructuralism
More modern sources, perhaps because they come after the advent of post-structuralism, have chosen to omit the rhetorical usage of the term.

William Harmon

In William Harmon's A Handbook to Literature, for example, aporia is identified as "a difficulty, impasse, or point of doubt and indecision", while also noting that critics such as Jacques Derrida have employed the term to "indicate a point of undecidability, which locates the site at which the text most obviously undermines its own rhetorical structure, dismantles, or deconstructs itself" (39).

Etymology

etymologicaletymologiesetymologically
The separation of aporia into its two morphemes a- and poros ('without' and 'passage') reveals the word's rich etymological background as well as its connection to Platonic mythology.

Myth

mythologymythologicalmyths
The separation of aporia into its two morphemes a- and poros ('without' and 'passage') reveals the word's rich etymological background as well as its connection to Platonic mythology.

Sarah Kofman

KofmanKofman, Sarah
Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.

Porus (mythology)

PorosPorus
Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.

Penia

Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.

Eros

erotesCupidAmor
Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.

Symposium (Plato)

SymposiumPlato's ''SymposiumPlato's Symposium
Sarah Kofman asserts that these two components are crucial to a fuller understanding of the word, which has been historically translated and understood somewhat reductively: "translators, who usually escape their perplexity by translating poros as 'expediency' and aporia as 'difficulty'...leave the reader in the dark as to all the semantic richness of poros and aporia and give no hint as to their links with other words belonging to the same 'family (9). Such links inevitably demonstrate that the terms are part of a "tradition" that Plato borrows from, a tradition which "breaks with a philosophical conception of translation, and with the logic of identity that it implies" (10). To demonstrate such a break, Kofman reviews multiple instances of the term throughout Plato's work. Her discussion of the myth of Poros, Penia, and Eros in Plato's Symposium especially reveals the concept's untranslatability.

Historiography

historiographicalhistoriographerhistoriographic
Such history provides insight into aporia's perplexing semantic qualities as well as into the historical context in which the word functions as an indicator of the limits of language in constructing knowledge.