The aim of the paper is twofold: to examine the argument in response to Socrates' question whether or not reflexive knowledge is, first, possible, and, second, beneficial; and by doing so, to examine the method of Platos argument. What is distinctive of the method of argument, I want to show, is that Socrates argues on both sides of these questions (the question of possibility and the question of benefit). This, I argue, is why he describes these questions as a source (...) oí aporia. Socrates can argue, without contradiction, on both sides of these questions because the arguments against the possibility and benefit of reflexive knowledge are premised on the supposition, defended by Critias, that this knowledge is only of ones knowledge and lack of knowledge, whereas the arguments for its possibility and benefit are not committed to this supposition. (shrink)
Two ethical frameworks have dominated the discussion of organ donation for long: that of property rights and that of gift-giving. However, recent years have seen a drastic rise in the number of philosophical analyses of the meaning of giving and generosity, which has been mirrored in ethical debates on organ donation and in critical sociological, anthropological and ethnological work on the gift metaphor in this context. In order to capture the flourishing of this field, this article distinguishes between four frameworks (...) for thinking about bodily exchanges in medicine: those of property rights, heroic gift-giving, sacrifice, and gift-giving as aporia. These frameworks represent four different ways of making sense of donation of organs as well as tissue, gametes and blood, draw on different conceptions of the relations between the self and the other, and bring out different ethical issues as core ones. The article presents these frameworks, argues that all of them run into difficulties when trying to make sense of reciprocity and relational interdependence in donation, and shows how the three gift-giving frameworks (of heroism, sacrifice and aporia) hang together in a critical discussion about what is at stake in organ donation. It also presents and argues in favour of an alternative intercorporeal framework of giving-through-sharing that more thoroughly explicates the gift metaphor in the context of donation, and offers tools for making sense of relational dimensions of live and post mortem donations. (shrink)
In looking at Derrida’s career, many people claim to see a “political turn” with the 1989 essay “Force of Law.” So on this reading, the early Derrida is concerned with metaphysics and literature and the later Derrida with politics and ethics. I disagree. The concerns have always been metaphysical/literary and political/ethical at once, but the “methodology” changes: from deconstruction to aporia.
Skeptical theism seeks to defend theism against the problem of evil by invoking putatively reasonable skepticism concerning human epistemic limitations in order to establish that we have no epistemological basis from which to judge that apparently gratuitous evils are not in fact justified by morally sufficient reasons beyond our ken. This paper contributes to the set of distinctively practical criticisms of skeptical theism by arguing that religious believers who accept skeptical theism and take its practical implications seriously will be forced (...) into a position of paralysis or "aporia" when faced with a wide set of morally significant situations. It is argued that this consequence speaks strongly against the acceptance of skeptical theism insofar as such moral "aporia" is inconsistent with religious moral teaching and practice. In addition, a variety of arguments designed to show that accepting skeptical theism does not lead to this consequence are considered, and shown to be deficient. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida's insistence on submitting politics to the test of undecidability elicits the common accusation that an aporetic form of thought can only end in dubious conclusions concerning the pressing matter of politics and that no normative claims can emerge from a thought of radical undecidability. In this paper, I articulate the structural undecidability (aporia) that constitutes politics according to Derrida, the manner in which this structural undecidability elicits judgments, and the importance for critique of not ignoring it. In (...) particular, this structural undecidability is articulated within the event of foundation of any state or set of social relations by way of a declarative act. In addition, the aporetic structure of the political renders visible the essential relationship between (revealed) religion and politics. Ultimately, due to a necessary reference to an ultimate authority at any event of foundation, the political is always already theologico-political in character. (shrink)
De modo, quo Leibniz et Aristotelici aporiam generis solvere possunt, doctrina de conceptibus simpliciter simplicibus non respuendaDoctrina de conceptibus simpliciter simplicibus, in quos omnes notiones ultimatim possunt resolvi, (a recentioribus “atomismus conceptualis” vocata) firmiter irradicata est in occidentali philosophica traditione. Originem suam quidem ab Aristotele trahens semper apud peripateticos adfuit, purissime tamen expressa in operibus Leibnitii invenitur. Nihilominus, ab initio haec doctrina etiam difficultate quadam patiebatur, quae “aporia generis” vulgo dicitur. Difficillime est enim explicatu, quomodo simplicitas absoluta conceptuum primitivorum (...) (seu differentiarum ultimarum) stet cum conceptuum transcendentium existentia, qui necessario in unoquoque conceptu comprehenduntur. Tractatione nostra haec difficultas examinatur et solutio praebetur. Fundamentum cuius est: datur duplex continentia unius conceptus in altero, scilicet formalis et virtualis. Conceptus transcendentales a conceptibus primitivis seu simpliciter simplicibus non formaliter, id est ut pars ipsorum definitionis, sed virtualiter tantum continentur – quod nihil aliud dicit quam illos ex his necessario sequi. Notabile est, huiusmodi sulutionis originem apud Aristotelem quoque inveniri posse.Conceptual Atomism, “Aporia Generis” and the Way Out for Leibniz and the AristoteliansConceptual atomism is a doctrine deeply rooted in the tradition of western thought. It originated with Aristotle, was present in the entire Aristotelian tradition and came to its most pure expression in the work of Leibniz. However, ab initio this doctrine suffered from certain difficulty labelled traditionally “aporia generis”, namely the problem of how it is possible to reconcile the absolute simplicity of the primitive concepts (or ultimate differentiae) with the existence of transcendental concepts, that is, concepts necessarily included in every concept. In this paper the entire problem is subject to an analysis and a solution is suggested, based on a distinction between two different kinds of conceptual containment: the primitive concepts do not contain the transcendentals formally, that is, as constituents thatcan be revealed by means of definitional analysis, but they nevertheless do contain them virtually, that is, they strictly imply them. It is noted that the germ of this solution is already present in Aristotle. (shrink)
This article argues that Camus’s thinking, as expressed in his works of fiction and non-fiction, is based upon a contradiction between his determination to reconcile politics and ethics and his belief that they irrefutably contradict each other. Throughout his career, Camus’s concerns never diverged from his aporetic attempt to reach an ‘agreement’ between two concepts he regarded as incompatible: justice and freedom. This article demonstrates how this basic aporia led Camus to an original - albeit rather hopeless - view (...) of the human condition. It illustrates how Camus’s aporia led him to define the role of thinkers in terms of public criticism and argues that in today’s sociopolitical reality Camus’s aporia can neither be dismissed, nor overcome. (shrink)
The Nicomachean Ethics is generally thought to be a “dialectical” work, aimed at resolving aporia in a set of endoxa, which it takes as its starting-point. I argue that Aristotle’s aim in the treatise is, rather, to produce definitions of key ethical terms, and that his starting-points are limited to evaluative and discriminative judgments of a certain sort, which are demanded by the nature of the discipline and are not endoxa. I discuss also how the definitions are reached (focusing (...) on the cases of the virtues of character) and the roles that aporiai do play in the process. (shrink)
We know things that entail things we apparently cannot come to know. This is a problem for those of us who trust that knowledge is closed under entailment. In the paper I discuss the solutions to this problem offered by epistemic disjunctivism and contextualism. The contention is that neither of these theories has the resources to deal satisfactory with the problem.
Husserl defines affection in the Analyses1 as "the allure given to consciousness, the particular pull that an object given to consciousness exercises on the ego."2 That something becomes prominent for the ego implies that the object exerts a kind of 'pull' upon the ego, a demanding of egoic attention. This affective pull is relative in force, such that the same object can be experienced in varying modes of prominence and affective relief depending upon bodily comportment, egoic attentiveness, etc. The phenomenon (...) of affection allows Husserl to describe the genesis of association in terms of the lawful, regular exertions of affection upon the ego, prompting (for example) the reproduction of remembered pasts in retention on a purely passive level. Affection thus provides Husserl a non-Humean mechanism for the lawful phenomenon of association. In this light, we can see that affection plays a crucial role in the passive phenomenon of association and thereby in the constitution of sense. The precise role played by affection, however, remains quite problematic in the Analyses. Husserl is rather unclear on this point, and two of the leading commentators on the Analyses, Anthony Steinbock and Bruce Bégout, offer opposing viewpoints. Is affection the precondition for the constitution of any sense unity, as Steinbock suggests, or is it the.. (shrink)
Abstract The main thesis of the paper is that, in the coda to the Protagoras (360e-end), Plato tells us why and with what justification he demands a definition of virtue: namely, in order to resolve a particular aporia . According to Plato's assessment of the outcome of the arguments of the dialogue, the principal question, whether or not virtue can be taught , has, by the end of the dialogue, emerged as articulating an aporia , in that both (...) protagonists, Socrates and Protagoras, have argued equally on both its sides. The first part of the paper provides an extensive analysis of the coda, with the aim of establishing the main thesis. The second part provides a comprehensive review of the arguments in the dialogue, with the aim of determining whether their outcome is what Plato says in the coda that it is. I undertake this review in three steps: on Plato's conception of reasons (logoi); Socrates' arguing on both sides; and Protagoras' arguing on both sides. (shrink)
This paper argues that Derrida’s aporetic conclusions regarding moral and political concepts, from hospitality to democracy, can only be understood and accepted if the notion of différance and similar infrastructures are taken into account. This is because it is the infrastructures that expose and commit moral and political practices to a double and conflictual (thus aporetic) future: the conditional future that projects horizonal limits and conditions upon the relation to others, and the unconditional future without horizons of anticipation. The argument (...) thus turns against two kinds of interpretation: The first accepts normative unconditionality in ethics but misses its support by the infrastructures. The second rejects unconditionality as a normative commitment precisely because the infrastructural support for unconditionality seems to rule out that it is normatively required. In conclusion, the article thus reconsiders the relation between a quasi-transcendental argument and its normative implications, suggesting that Derrida avoids the naturalistic fallacy. (shrink)
This article investigates the relation between Language and Being as it is articulated in the so-called philosophical digression of Plato‘s alleged Seventh Letter. Here the author of the letter claims, in contrast to the testimony of Plato‘s many dialogues, that there has never been and there will never be any written word on Plato‘s philosophy; and in addition, as if this was not sufficiently perplexing, he goes on to explain that the matters of philosophy do in fact not admit of (...) verbal expression at all. In discussing the arguments for and the consequences of these claims, this paper explores what in the letter is argued to be the only viable way out of the ontological and epistemological deficiencies inherent in language. In trying to lay bare how the author of the letter argues for the insufficiency of a rational, theoretical and linguistic understanding of ultimate reality, this paper explores the notions of sunousia and tribo (translatable in context perhaps as ‘lived conversation’ and ‘spending of time’) as the only acts powerful enough to overcome the obstacles of language and to reach a true understanding of Being. Arguing against a mystical interpretation of the notions of sunousia and tribo – in terms of a certain union between subject and object – this paper claims that a true philosophical relation to Being, according to the letter, is not be understood as the end of a particular type of search, but must rather be understood as the search itself. It argues that neither sunousia nor tribo are to capture a type of meditative situation, but rather an articulated conversation reflecting the particular conditions of a philosophical approach. (shrink)