Aporia

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Graham Allen (University College Cork)
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  • The Literary Encyclopedia. WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

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The words

aporia

and

aporetic

figure significantly and frequently in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and in the deconstructive school of literary and cultural theory which his work inspired. Originating in the Greek,

aporia

involves

doubt

,

perplexity

and that which is

impassable

. Niall Lucy, in his

A Derrida Dictionary

(Blackwell: 2004), opens his entry on aporia with this definition: “

aporia

. A Greek term denoting a logical contradiction, “aporia” is used by Derrida to refer to what he often calls the “blind spots” of any metaphysical argument.” The definition is useful, especially in alerting us to the issue of “blind spots”, however it requires taking somewhat further. A more precise definition of the concept would be as follows: “a…

2611 words

Citation: Allen, Graham. "Aporia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 July 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1578, accessed 20 May 2024.]

1578 Aporia 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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