What is Apophaticism? Ways of Talking About an Ineffable God

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):23--49 (2016)
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Apophaticism -- the view that God is both indescribable and inconceivable -- is one of the great medieval traditions of philosophical thought about God, but it is largely overlooked by analytic philosophers of religion. This paper attempts to rehabilitate apophaticism as a serious philosophical option. We provide a clear formulation of the position, examine what could appropriately be said and thought about God if apophaticism is true, and consider ways to address the charge that apophaticism is self-defeating. In so doing we draw on recent work in the philosophy of language, touching on issues such as the nature of negation, category mistakes, fictionalism, and reductionism.

Author Profiles

Gabriel Citron
Princeton University
Michael Scott
University of Manchester


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