What is aporia?
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In relation to Jaques Derrida, father of deconstruction, aporia is the technical term applied to logical or rhetorical perplexities, impassable difficulties, logical paradoxes, and puzzlements. When understood in relation to deconstruction of literature, aporia demarcates a point where a text exhibits deconstruction characteristics: the text dismantles itself, deconstructs itself, or undermines its own rhetorical foundations. In other words, it is a place in a text where the binary oppositions and the difference underlying meaning cause the text to deconstruct its unity and establish a perplexity or paradox by saying what isn't overtly authored in the text. For example, it might be said that Austen's novels establish aporias of paradox when servants are mentioned in passing thus revealing in the text a divided community of others while overtly addressing unification of the community. The paradoxical aporia [i.e., perplexity, puzzlement] of otherness and unity deconstructs the text as the unity of community--and of text--is dismantled through the presence of otherwise invisible servants. Aporia is a term from Greek philosophy that Derrida appropriated for use in deconstruction, which is a critical theory applied to various studies such as philosophy, art, and literature.
Aporia is a Greek term denoting a logical contradiction. It is principally found in Greek philosophy, but it also plays a role in post-structuralist philosophy, as in the writings of Derrida and Irigaray. The term is used by Derrida to refer to what he often calls the “blind spots” of any metaphysical argument.
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