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Phenominalism is the theory that we can not know the true reality behind our perceptions, but only know the perceptions (or phenomina) themselves. Reality effectively exists to us only in the times and how we perceive it.

I have actually heard phenominalism used once before to describe a person who is a thrill seeker, seeking exhilarating or ‘phenominal’ experiences. This is a credit to the misconstruing of the english language by college students, and in no way reflects the philosophical meaning of the term.

My belief in the reality of a spiritual realm is connected to phenominalism. I believe that there are things in the world that are easily perceived, but usually looked over, that point to a God. While one person looks at a tree and sees a tree, I look at a tree and see the handprint of something so much bigger and greater than me.

The concept of Truth is related to phenominalism. I struggle with the idea that we can know anything for sure, and are limited to the ability of our physical bodies to ‘perceive’ reality. At the same time, is the belief in an unseen God any different in the belief in a seen chair? Sure you can see, touch, and sit in a chair, but all you can know about the chair is what people have seen and felt. The scientific process can never prove anything, just make accurate predictions. Perhaps it is true that all we can know as reality is what we perceive as we perceive it, however that does not necessarily mean that if we don’t perceive something, it isn’t true either. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? I think the truth is that the sound still exists, but if we happen to hear it, all we can know of it is what we perceive.

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Posted by on June 8th, 2010 at 6:54 am