Definition of phenomenalism in English:

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Pronunciation: /fəˈnɒmɪn(ə)lɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun] Philosophy
The doctrine that human knowledge is confined to or founded on the realities or appearances presented to the senses.
Example sentences
  • Edwards' occasionalism, idealism, and mental phenomenalism provide a philosophical interpretation of God's absolute sovereignty: God is the only real cause and the only true substance.
  • The movement of Ayer's own thought has been from phenomenalism to what he describes in his latest treatment of the topic as ‘a sophisticated form of realism’.
  • This book, together with a paper entitled The Relation of Sense-Data to Physics published in the same year, represents an excursus by Russell into something like phenomenalism.



noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • But these experiential regularities are object-dependent, whereas the phenomenalist needs object-independent regularities concerning experiences alone.
  • In the next passages, she also reveals a phenomenalist view about the individuality of physical objects: their ‘being’ is based on appearances, and not anything intrinsic.
  • Having made this return journey from a version of phenomenalism or something close to it, Russell reconsidered problems which he now felt had not been properly dealt with under his phenomenalist assumptions.


Pronunciation: /fɪnɒmɪn(ə)ˈlɪstɪk/
Example sentences
  • The ontology is phenomenalistic in its leanings, though open to a more physicalistic interpretation.
  • A few years later, Carnap realized that this thesis was untenable because a phenomenalistic language is insufficient to define physical concepts.
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