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[fi-nom-uh-nl-iz-uh m]
noun Philosophy.
  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.
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Origin of phenomenalism

First recorded in 1860–65; phenomenal + -ism
Related formsphe·nom·e·nal·ist, nounphe·nom·e·nal·is·tic, adjectivephe·nom·e·nal·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phenomenalistic

Historical Examples of phenomenalistic

  • Mathematics would, then, be the phenomenalistic science of the form and order of the world.

    International Congress of Arts and Science, Volume I


  • And yet it would be misleading to place the totality of phenomenalistic sciences as a subdivision under the teleological sciences.

  • Mathematics would then be the phenomenalistic science of the form and order of the world.

  • We have discussed the reasons why we group mathematics here and not among the phenomenalistic sciences.

  • Is the application of phenomenalistic psychology or the application of teleological voluntarism in question?

British Dictionary definitions for phenomenalistic


  1. 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 appearancesCompare idealism (def. 3), realism (def. 6)
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Derived Formsphenomenalist, noun, adjectivephenomenalistically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for phenomenalistic



1865 (John Grote), from phenomenal + -ism. Related: Phenomenalist.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper