Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


n. Philosophy
The doctrine, set forth by David Hume and his successors, that percepts and concepts constitute the sole objects of knowledge, with the objects of perception and the nature of the mind itself remaining unknowable.

phe·nom′e·nal·ist n.
phe·nom′e·nal·is′tic adj.
phe·nom′e·nal·is′ti·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(fɪˈnɒmɪnəˌlɪzəm) or


(Philosophy) philosophy the doctrine that statements about physical objects and the external world can be analysed in terms of possible or actual experiences, and that entities, such as physical objects, are only mental constructions out of phenomenal appearances. Compare idealism3, realism6
pheˈnomenalist, pheˈnomenist n, adj
pheˌnomenalˈistically adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(fɪˈnɒm ə nlˌɪz əm)

1. the doctrine that phenomena are the only objects of knowledge or the only form of reality.
2. the view that all things, including human beings, consist simply of the aggregate of their observable, sensory qualities.
phe•nom′e•nal•ist, n.
phe•nom`e•nal•is′tic, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


the doctrine that phenomena are the only objects of knowledge or the only form of reality. — phenomenalist, n.phenomenalistic, adj.
See also: Philosophy
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


nPhänomenalismus m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
As he notes in his introduction, this went along with a stance of phenomenalism, a willingness to relinquish access to things in themselves as beyond the limits of possible sensory experience.
Moreover, if Brandom attributes to Hegel a "phenomenalism" about norms (including modal norms) that he endorses in his own work, then I suspect the realism at issue for him does not depend on any strong notion of the independence of concepts from human thought.
In this way, his preference for the reality of the waves should be understood as some version of phenomenalism (23) in which reality (the waves) is something we cannot perceive directly, but through a process of "private sense-data".
Although he is called evil, he continues to adhere to the voice of his conscience and does not reduce it to a "mere phenomenalism of consciousness" that is, in this case, forged by the Church (Nietzsche [1895] 2004, 139).
Throughout modern history, the philosophical imagination has created the philosophical perspectives of modern materialism, rationalism, empiricism, phenomenalism, historicism, existentialism, pragmatism, hermeneutics, and feminism.
In this paper, the following studies are conducted on the premise of the phenomenalism and isotropic continuum medium.
He then discusses observational research and the collection of data; theory building based on qualitative and quantitative research in a variety of disciplines, as well as phenomenalism, structuralism, and behavioralism traditions; preparing to test and testing hypotheses, including reliability, validity, precision, and inferential statistics; and applying theory in the scholarly and professional worlds.
Ayer's defenses of phenomenalism and Gilbert Ryle's critiques of Descartes, and developments in biochemistry and physiological psychology converged to augment the plausibility of materialist perspectives and transform Anglo-American philosophical thinking about mindedness during the 1950s.
Carnap's official phenomenalism was very ambitious and this brings out the point that the more substantive the base, the less interesting any scrutability thesis becomes.
Phenomenalism is an unacceptable theory of meaning, and anyone arguing against the brain in a vat hypothesis must not presuppose it.