Metaphysical Aporia and Philosophical Heresy

By Stephen David Ross

Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791400074, 411 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780791400067, 411 pages, July 1989

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: The Aporia of the End

2. The Heresy of the Beginning

3. Plato: The Heresy of Reason

4. Aristotle: The Heresy of Orthodoxy

5. Spinoza: The Heresy of Heresy

6. Leibniz: The Heresy of Perfection

7. Empiricism: The Heresy of Experience

8. Kant: The Heresy of Aporia

9. Hegel: The Heresy of Difference

10. The Heresy of the End

11. Locality and Aporia

12. Metaphysical Heresy




From Descartes to the present, there has been a call for a new beginning in philosophy. Contemporary continental philosophy and American pragmatism continue to proclaim the end of one philosophic tradition and the beginning of another. The basis for many of these developments is the repudiation of metaphysics.

The purpose of this book is to rethink the metaphysical traditions in terms of the continental and pragmatist critiques, rejecting a single view. The major works in the tradition are viewed as heretical. Philosophy has recurrently acknowledged aporia: "moments in the movement of thought in which it finds itself faced with unconquerable obstacles resulting from conflicts in its understanding of its own intelligibility. "

A chapter is devoted to each of the eight major philosophers and movements in the Western canonical tradition: the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Leibniz, empiricism, Kant, and Hegel. The last three chapters are devoted to contemporary discussions of the end of metaphysics, including the development of a "local" metaphysics that is able to express its own locality and aporia.

Stephen David Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is author of Perspective in Whitehead's Metaphysics; Philosophical Mysteries; A Theory of Art: Inexhaustibility by Contrast; and Transition to an Ordinal Metaphysics. He is also the editor of Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, 2nd Edition, published by SUNY Press.


"Stephen Ross has here written a remarkable new work. It represents an advance in American metaphysics and a proof of its liveliness at the very moment in history when its 'end' is being proclaimed by some. " -- Edward S. Casey, State University of New York at Stony Brook

"The book offers new and exciting reading of such major thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Hegel and uses these readings to elaborate a distinctive view of the nature of philosophical and metaphysical inquiry. " -- Gary Shapiro, University of Kansas

"The author is an original thinker with a magisterial comprehension of the history, nature and function of philosophy. There is something to be learned from every page. " -- Andrew J. Reck, Tulane University