The Aporetic Structure of Philosophical Problems

Journal of Didactics of Philosophy 3 ((1)):5-18 (2019)
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The central idea of this essay is that philosophical thinking revolves around aporetic clusters, i.e., sets of individually plausible, but collectively inconsistent propositions. The task of philosophy is to dissolve such clusters, either by showing that the propositions in question, contrary to first impression, are compatible with each other, or by showing that it is permissible to abandon at least one of the propositions involved. This view of philosophical problems not only provides a very good description of well-understood philosophizing, but is also better suited than others to explain some seemingly strange characteristics of philosophy, most notably its armchair character, the large variety of incommensurable doctrines by which it is characterized, and its concern with its own history.

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Wolfgang Barz
Goethe University Frankfurt


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