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Aporia

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Aporia

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Aporia is pretending to doubt something.

Example

Maybe I am stupid, or something. Maybe I am not paying attention here. Or maybe you are talking rubbish.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, would you say that was the worst joke I have told? Or was it the best joke? Funny, that. I can't tell either.

Discussion

Expressing doubt prompts others to empathetically consider how something may be doubted and so sows seeds of uncertainty in them. This causes confusion and leads others to seek certainty, which the speaker can give with subsequent statements (and which are thus less likely to be challenged).

Doubt may thus be used as the start of an argument, clearing the decks for the speaker's real intent. The doubt may be sustained or, more often, the speaker proves themself wrong by showing the doubt to be unfounded.

Aporia often appears in the form of a rhetorical question.

Aporia is also called Dubitatio or Dubitation.

Classification: Questioning, Falsehood

See also

Confusion principle

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