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American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy

ONLINE FIRST

published on January 17, 2019

Derek McAllister
DOI: 10.5840/aaptstudies201911132

Aporia as Pedagogical Technique

In this essay, I muse upon aporia’s value as a pedagogical technique in the philosophy classroom using as a guide examples of aporia that are found in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. The word aporia, translated as “without passage” or “without a way,” is used metaphorically to describe the unsettling state of confusion many find themselves in after engaging in philosophical discourse. Following a brief introduction in which I situate aporia as a pedagogy amicable to experiential learning, I examine various ways in which aporia appears in certain Platonic dialogues, which enables us to draw out some paradigmatic features of aporia. I then discuss how I apply aporia as a pedagogical technique in the contemporary philosophy classroom, taking up three specific concerns in detail: aporetic discomfort, right use, and potential misuse.