Aporetics: Rational Deliberation in the Face of Inconsistency

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University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2009 - Philosophy - 176 pages
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The word apory stems from the Greek aporia, meaning impasse or perplexing difficulty. In Aporetics, Nicholas Rescher defines an apory as a group of individually plausible but collectively incompatible theses. Rescher examines historic, formulaic, and systematic apories and couples these with aporetic theory from other authors to form this original and comprehensive survey. Citing thinkers from the pre-Socratics through Spinoza, Hegel, and Nicolai Hartmann, he builds a framework for coping with the complexities of divergent theses, and shows in detail how aporetic analysis can be applied to a variety of fields including philosophy, mathematics, linguistics, logic, and intellectual history.

Rescher's in-depth examination reveals how aporetic inconsistency can be managed through a plausibility analysis that breaks the chain of inconsistency at its weakest link by deploying right-of-way precedence based on considerations of cognitive centrality. Thus while involvement with cognitive conflicts and inconsistencies are pervasive in human thought, aporetic analysis can provide an effective means of damage control.
 

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Contents

1 The Nature of Apories
1
2 Coherentism
9
3 Counterfactual Conditionals
29
4 Variant Analyses of Counterfactuals and Problems of Probability
49
5 The Aporetics of Counterfactual History
74
6 Paradoxes
84
7 Philosophical Aporetics
102
8 The Dialectics of Philosophical Development
120
9 The Rationale of Aporetic Variation
133
Notes
141
Bibliography
153
Index of Names
159
Spine
165
BackFlap
166
BackCover
167
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About the author (2009)

Nicholas Rescher is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is also chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. He has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Author of nearly one hundred books ranging over many areas of philosophy, he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for Humanistic Scholarship in 1984.

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