Apophasis and Reticence

  • Thomas Gould


In this chapter, Gould proposes that silence in modern literature and philosophy is best understood according to two interrelated categories: apophasis and reticence. Gould associates apophasis with negative theology and its legacy in modern thinking, particularly Wittgenstein, whereby silence and the unsayable are understood according to a logic of transcendence. Gould associates reticence, meanwhile, with a more phenomenological approach to silence, particularly in the work of Heidegger, whereby silence is associated instead with listenership and a withholding of speech or language. Eventually, Gould arrives at the motif of the “silent voice”, through the work of both Giorgio Agamben and Jean-Luc Nancy, a third term that resists the logic of both apophasis and reticence.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Gould
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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