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.



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Author Profiles

Gabriel Citron
Princeton University
Michael Scott
University of Manchester

Citations of this work

Religious fictionalism.Michael Scott & Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3):1-11.
Pascalian Expectations and Explorations.Alan Hajek & Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - In Roger Ariew & Yuval Avnur (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Pascal. Wiley-Blackwell.
Conceptions of Supreme Deity.Graham Oppy - forthcoming - Sophia:1-11.
Apophatic Language, the Aesthetic, and the Sensus Divinitatis.Julianne N. Chung - 2020 - Journal of Analytic Theology 8 (1):100-119.

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References found in this work

The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.
The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
A Natural History of Negation.Laurence R. Horn - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.

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