Share this entry

Share this page

noumenon

Syllabification: nou·me·non
Pronunciation: /ˈno͞oməˌnän
 
/

Definition of noumenon in English:

noun (plural noumenona /-nə/)

(In Kantian philosophy) a thing as it is in itself, as distinct from a thing as it is knowable by the senses through phenomenal attributes.
Example sentences
  • Thus he seems to have been more like a Kantian believer in unknowable noumena than like a Vienna Circle proponent of the view that talk of God is not even meaningful.
  • Like Hegel, Adorno criticizes Kant's distinction between phenomena and noumena by arguing that the transcendental conditions of experience can be neither so pure nor so separate from each other as Kant seems to claim.
  • A phenomenon is an object of possible experience, whereas a noumenon is an object knowable to thought alone, and which it does not make sense to describe as an object of experience.

Origin

late 18th century: via German from Greek, literally '(something) conceived', from noien 'conceive, apprehend'.

Derivatives

noumenal

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Nietzsche rejected the Kantian distinction between a noumenal and phenomenal world.
  • In speaking of a social contract, therefore, we are referring not to an actual agreement between empirical selves, but to a hypothetical agreement between purely noumenal beings.
  • Certainly, the largest religion on the census forms in the UK is ‘Christian’, which covers a vast number of levels of belief and commitment but bespeaks some sort of readiness to accept the existence of numinous or noumenal entities.

Definition of noumenon in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day prepotent
Pronunciation: prɪˈpəʊt(ə)nt
adjective
greater than others in power or influence