A phenomenon (from Greek "φαινόμενoν", pl. "φαινόμενα" - "phenomena") is any observable occurrence. [ New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed.) ] In popular usage, a phenomenon often refers to an extraordinary event. In physics, a phenomenon may be a feature of
matter, energy, or spacetime. For example, Isaac Newtonmade observations of the phenomenon of the moon's orbit. Additionally, Galileo Galileimade observations of pendulum related phenomena. [ Jeremy Bernstein, A Theory for Everything, Copernicus, An imprint of Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996, hardback, ISBN 0-387-94700-0]
Use in gemmology
gemmologya phenomenon is an unusual optical effect displayed by a gem. Play-of-color, labradorescence, iridescence, adularescence, chatoyancy, asterism, aventurescence, schillerand colorchange are all phenomenaof this type.
Use in philosophy
philosophy, the use of the word "phenomenon" differs from other uses in that it refers to perceived events. Phenomena may be perceived through a person's sensesor with their mind.
The term came into its modern philosophical usage through
Immanuel Kant, where it is contrasted with noumenon(for which Kant used the term "Ding an sich", or "thing-in-itself") or Absolute. Phenomenon and noumenon serve as interrelated technical terms in Kant's philosophy. Noumena, in contrast to phenomena, are not directly accessible to observation. Nowadays, "phenomena" are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances'. These are themselves sometimes understood as involving qualia.
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