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A phenomenon (;
plural
<small>plural</small>
phenomena) is an
observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through ...
fact or event. The term came into its modern
philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real o ...

philosophical
usage through
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethic ...

Immanuel Kant
, who contrasted it with the
noumenon In philosophy, a noumenon (, ; from Ancient Greek, Greek: νoούμενον; Plural, plural noumena) is a posited object or event that exists independently of human sense and/or perception. The term ''noumenon'' is generally used in contrast with, ...
, which ''cannot'' be directly observed. Kant was heavily influenced by
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ...

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
in this part of his philosophy, in which phenomenon and noumenon serve as interrelated technical terms. Far predating this, the
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages () ...
Pyrrhonist philosopher
Sextus Empiricus Sextus Empiricus ( grc-gre, Σέξτος Ἐμπειρικός; c. 160 – c. 210 AD) was a Ancient Greece, Greek Pyrrhonism, Pyrrhonist philosopher and a physician. His philosophical works are the most complete surviving account of ancient Greek ...
also used ''phenomenon'' and ''noumenon'' as interrelated technical terms.


Common usage

In popular usage, a ''phenomenon'' often refers to an extraordinary event. The term is most commonly used to refer to occurrences that at first defy explanation or baffle the observer. According to the ''Dictionary of Visual Discourse'':
In ordinary language 'phenomenon/phenomena' refer to any occurrence worthy of note and investigation, typically an untoward or unusual event, person or fact that is of special significance or otherwise notable.


Philosophy

In modern philosophical use, the term ''phenomena'' has come to mean 'that which is experienced in the basis of
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In p ...

reality
.' In his
inaugural dissertation File:Claude Bernard's thesis for his doctorate Wellcome M0011459.jpg, The cover of the thesis presented by Claude Bernard to obtain his Doctor of Medicine degree (1843) A doctorate (from Latin ''docere'', "to teach") or doctor's degree (from Lati ...
, titled ''On the
Form Form is the shape, visual appearance, or :wikt:configuration, configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the way something happens. Form also refers to: *Form (document), a document (printed or electronic) with spaces in which to w ...
and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World'',
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethic ...

Immanuel Kant
(1770) theorizes that the human mind is restricted to the logical world and thus can only interpret and understand occurrences according to their physical appearances. He wrote that humans could infer only as much as their senses allowed, but not experience the actual object itself. This may make sense in terms of a communications-channel (epistemology) feeding from an ensemble of reality-inputs (ontology) yet not in the sense of applying wise imagination (a-la Albert Einstein, to partial success). Thus, the term ''phenomenon'' refers to any incident deserving of inquiry and investigation, especially processes and events which are particularly unusual or of distinctive importance.


Science

Cloud chamber phenomena. Scientists use phenomena to refine some hypotheses and sometimes to disprove a theory. See also :Image:Cloud chamber ani bionerd.gif, animated version.In scientific usage, a phenomenon is any event that is
observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through ...
, including the use of
instrumentation Instrumentation is a collective term for measuring instruments that are used for indicating, measuring and recording physical quantities. The term has its origins in the art and science of Scientific instrument, scientific instrument-making. Instr ...

instrumentation
to observe, record, or compile data. Especially in
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scien ...

physics
, the study of a phenomenon may be described as
measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be used to compare with other objects or events. The scope and application of meas ...

measurement
s related to
matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic particl ...
,
energy In physics, energy is the physical quantity, quantitative physical property, property that must be #Energy transfer, transferred to a physical body, body or physical system to perform Work (thermodynamics), work on the body, or to heat it. En ...

energy
, or
time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component qua ...

time
, such as
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March Old Style and New Style dates, 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosophy, natural philosopher") ...

Isaac Newton
's observations of the
moon's orbit The Moon The Moon is Earth's only proper natural satellite. At one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign countr ...
and of
gravity Gravity (), or gravitation, is a list of natural phenomena, natural phenomenon by which all things with mass or energy—including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and even light—are brought toward (or ''gravitate'' toward) one another. ...
; or
Galileo Galilei Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei (; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the ...

Galileo Galilei
's observations of the motion of a
pendulum A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced sideways from its resting, equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity Gravity (), or gravitation, is ...

pendulum
. In
natural sciences Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer r ...

natural sciences
, a phenomenon is an observable happening or event. Often, this term is used without considering the causes of a particular event. Example of a physical phenomenon is an observable phenomenon of the lunar orbit or the phenomenon of oscillations of a pendulum. A mechanical phenomenon is a physical phenomenon associated with the
equilibrium List of types of equilibrium, the condition of a system in which all competing influences are balanced, in a wide variety of contexts. Equilibrium may also refer to: Film and television * Equilibrium (film), ''Equilibrium'' (film), a 2002 scien ...

equilibrium
or
motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacem ...
of objects. Some examples are
Newton's cradle The Newton's cradle is a device that demonstrates the conservation of momentum In Newtonian mechanics, linear momentum, translational momentum, or simply momentum ( pl. momenta) is the product of the mass Mass is both a property ...

Newton's cradle
,
engine File:Jet engine.svg, 450px, Jet engine uses heat of combustion to generate a high-velocity exhaust as a form of reaction engine. Mechanical energy to power the aircraft's electrical and hydraulic systems can be taken from the turbine shaft, but th ...

engine
s, and
double pendulum s attached end to end. In physics and mathematics, in the area of dynamical systems, a double pendulum is a pendulum with another pendulum attached to its end, and is a simple physical system that exhibits rich dynamical systems, dynamic behavior wi ...

double pendulum
s.


Sociology

Group phenomena concern the behavior of a particular group of individual entities, usually organisms and most especially people. The behavior of individuals often changes in a group setting in various ways, and a group may have its own behaviors not possible for an individual because of the
herd mentality Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affecte ...
.
Social phenomenaSocial phenomena or social phenomenon (singular) are any behaviours, actions, or events that takes place because of social influenceSocial influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the demands of a social environ ...
apply especially to organisms and people in that subjective states are implicit in the term. Attitudes and events particular to a group may have effects beyond the group, and either be adapted by the larger society, or seen as aberrant, being punished or shunned.


See also

* Condition of possibility *
Essence Essence ( la, essentia) is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysem ...
*
Electrical phenomenaElectrical phenomena are commonplace and unusual events that can be observed and that illuminate the principles of the physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsi ...
*
List of geological phenomena{{cleanup HTML, date=February 2019 A geological phenomenon is a phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical usage through Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, ; ; 22 Ap ...
*
List of Internet phenomena Social and cultural phenomena specific to the Internet include Internet memes, such as popular themes, catchphrases, images, viral videos, and jokes. When such fads and sensations occur online, they tend to grow rapidly and become more wide ...
*
List of natural phenomena Types of natural phenomena include: Weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. On Earth Earth is the third planet from ...
*
Observation Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...

Observation
*
Optical phenomena Optical phenomena are any observable events that result from the interaction of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human ...


References


External links

{{Authority control Observation Concepts in metaphysics Phenomenology