Aporia: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aporia (Ancient Greek: ἀπορία: impasse; lack of resources; puzzlement; doubt; confusion) denotes, in philosophy, a philosophical puzzle or state of puzzlement, and, in rhetoric, a rhetorically useful expression of doubt.



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 post-structuralist philosophy, as in the writings of Derrida and Irigaray, and it has also served as an instrument of investigation in analytic philosophy.

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, 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.

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' (995a24). Book Beta of the Metaphysics is a list of the aporiai that preoccupy the rest of the work.


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. It is also called dubitatio. For example (Demosthenes On The Crown, 129):

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?

See also


  • Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920). Greek Grammar. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 674. ISBN 0-674-36250-0.  
  • Vasilis Politis (2006). "Aporia and Searching in the Early Plato" in L. Judson and V. Karasmanis eds. Remembering Socrates. Oxford University Press.
  • Rescher, Nicholas (2009). Aporetics. Pittsburgh PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-4363.  


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Aporia leucodice


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Divisio: Ditrysia
Sectio: Cossina
Subsection: Bombycina
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea
Series: Papilioniformes
Familia: Pieridae
Subfamilia: Pierinae
Tribus: Pierini
Genus: Aporia
Species: A. acraea - A. agathon - A. bieti - A. crataegi - A. delavayi - A. gigantea - A. goutellei - A. hastata - A. hippia - A. howarthi - A. intercostata - A. joubini - A. largeteaui - A. larraldei - A. leucodice - A. lhamo - A. martineti - A. morishitai - A. nabellica - A. oberthueri - A. potanini - A. soracta


Aporia Hübner, 1819

Vernacular names


  • Hsu, Yu-Feng & Wen-I Chou, 1999: Discovery of a new Pierid Butterfly, Aporia gigantea cheni Hsu and Chou (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) from Taiwan. Zoological Studies 38(2): 222-227. Full article: [1]
  • Yoshino, K., 2003: New butterflies from China 8. Futao 43: 6-20.

verz. bekannter Schmett. (6):90

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address