What is apophaticism? Ways of talking about an ineffable God

Michael Scott, Gabriel Citron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)23-49
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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