What is Apophaticism? Ways of Talking about an Ineffable God

Michael Scott, Gabriel Citron

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal for the Philosophy of Religion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • Conceivability
  • Religious language
  • Negative theology
  • God
  • Apophaticism


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