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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


the empiricist doctrine (e.g. advanced by J. S. MILL) that things ‘are permanent possibilities of sensations’. Thus phenomenalism is not to be confused with PHENOMENOLOGY. DURKHEIM was influenced by phenomenalism.



a philosophical theory according to which the sole object of knowledge is the world of phenomena—the only reality accessible to man.

An extreme form of phenomenalism, tending toward solipsism, is represented by Machism, for example, or by the theories of G. Berkeley, according to which the world is seen as an aggregate of “ideas” or “complexes of sensations.” In its moderate form, phenomenalism is based on acknowledgment of the reality that lies beyond the world of phenomena; this reality, defined as “idea,” essence, or “thing in itself,” is not fully knowable in its “actual being.” Such traditionally idealist views are characteristic of skepticism and agnosticism. The tenets of phenomenalism are also closely related to those of positivism and neopositivism.

Phenomenalism is refuted by dialectical materialism, which holds that there is no insurmountable boundary between appearance and essence and that reality as the object of cognition is accessible through the phenomenon.

References in periodicals archive ?
Even though phenomenalism might initially strikes us as a highly bizarre and implausible view, it is important to mention that philosophers accepted it in the past and still insist upon some of its main commitments.
Most of his life was devoted to the research of the informational theory, including philosophy of the informational, theory of informational phenomenalism, informational machines and informational operating systems, informational investigations in literature, media, communication by theory and machines, informational theory of consciousness and informational entity programming.
In Ferdinand de Saussure's (1959) binarist semiological reductionism, the phenomenon and noumenon dichotomy was accepted as existing prior to signification, and its linguistic derivation reasserted the categorial basis of Kant's (1989) phenomenalism.
Professor Hobson calls this the methodological phenomenalism of science.
Modernists are enclosed within a philosophical phenomenalism, rendering both science and history atheistic in principle and not merely in practice: "God and all that is divine are utterly excluded" (no.
Their solemn enunciation on the aesthetics, the imagery, rhyming and metric patterns, metaphors, lucidity, fluidity, lingoism, jingoism, polemicism, chantism, phenomenalism of the Aboriginal voice, is an assurance to us that the debate will continue.
MCDONALD ROSS, "Leibniz's Phenomenalism and the construction of Matter", en Studia Leibnitiana.
Different philosophical trends as found in disciplines such as Nominalism, Realism, Phenomenalism, Significs, Semiotic, Logical Positivism, etc.
On this point, see Paul de Man, The Resistance to Theory (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986) II: "What we call ideology is precisely the confusion of linguistic with natural reality, of reference with phenomenalism.
There is, for instance, the suggestion that Dignaga's omission of the qualifier "non-erroneous" from his definition of perception shows him to have espoused phenomenalism, the view that cognitive error is not possible with respect to what is immediately given in sense perception.
In this we can see the origin of other staples of the mature metaphysics, for example Leibniz's panpsychism and his phenomenalism.
Chapter 2 begins with a consideration of positivism, organized around Delanty's (1997) identification of the following tenets: scientism, phenomenalism, empiricism, value freedom and instrumental knowledge.