Last modified on 20 December 2014, at 16:04


Return to "phenomenon" page.

The word phenomena is in! When we type phenomena, phenomenon come up; It's not what I wanted definded. What are the differentances between the too?

They're the same word; phenomenon is singular, and phenomena is plural. That is, you can have one phenomenon, but many phenomena. —Muke Tever 17:34, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

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  • Rfv-sense: The existential reality of "something"; not "nothing".

I don't understand the definition; MWOnline does not have it. It has been added[1] together with this example sentence:

The universe is a phenomenon, as is every particle of matter within it; that which is non-phenomenal does not exist because it is noumenon.

I would just delete the sense together with the example sentence. --Dan Polansky 18:04, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

It's probably not really attestable, let alone comprehensible. Maybe someone can edit into something useful; maybe it will just be deleted in a month or two. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 18:17, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
As written, this defn is a not-very-successful attempt to articulate the philosophical sense of "phenomenon" (esp. German idealism, where the phenomenon/noumenon distinction is very important). Cleaning it up is on my list of things to do. -- WikiPedant 19:23, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, I rewrote the philosophical sense and added a couple quotations from academic journals. Reworked and added quotations for the other senses too. The entire entry is pretty much cleaned up and verified now, I think. -- WikiPedant 16:23, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The quotes in and of themselves seem consistent with sense 1.
Anthony Flew's A Dictionary of Philosophy gives: "Any object or occurrence perceived by the senses. 1. (in Greek philosophy) Sensible appearance, contrasted with the real object apprehended by the intellect. 2. (in Kant) The object interpreted through categories, contrasted with "noumenon"."
I suppose a Kantian sense would only need a single citation from a well-known work of Kant, presumably in a well-known translation. Or is such a pregnant concept from notoriously dense prose inherently encyclopedic? I note that Flew's umbrella sense is a better worded version of sense 1. DCDuring TALK 17:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure the 2 quotations for sense4 are distinctly representative of constitutive idealism's use of the term, since they both highlight the constitutive role of mind in producing the experienced objects of the world. The Kantian sense given by the venerable Prof. Flew (who is most definitely not a Kantian) is actually a little too simple--In Kantianism, the categories are probably paramount, but Kant held that the phenomenal world is constituted by more than just the pure concepts of understanding (the categories). I personally don't like to quote translations if I can find a native English equivalent, and Kant's influence is so extensive that that's not hard to do. (And in Kant, the hard part is finding something that's even halfway intelligible to a non-philosopher.) You are correct that there are other philosophical senses of "phenomenon" beside the Kantian. Hegel and Husserl with his followers (the phenomenologists) had their own distinct usages (which I may add someday), but in general I think you are correct, DC, that it is probably fair to say the broad usage of "phenomenon" in non-Kantian and non-Husserlian philosophy is more-or-less adequately captured by sense1. -- WikiPedant 18:58, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

RFV passed. Thanks, WikiPedant! —RuakhTALK 19:38, 15 May 2009 (UTC)