Phenomenon (Kant's philosophy)

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Phenomenon (Greek: φαινόμενo, plural: φαινόμενα) has a specialized meaning in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant who contrasted the term "phenomenon" with "noumenon" in the Critique of Pure Reason. Phenomena constitute the world as we experience it, as opposed to the world as it exists independently of our experiences (the thing-in-itself, "das Ding an sich"). Humans cannot, according to Kant, know things-in-themselves, only things as we experience them. Thus philosophy – the term "philosophy" in Kant's day serving as the approximate equivalent of what is today called "science" – should concern itself with understanding phenomena.

The concept of "phenomena" led to a tradition of philosophy called phenomenology. Leading figures in phenomenology include Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida.

Kant's account of phenomena has also been understood as influential in the development of psychodynamic models of psychology, and of theories concerning the ways in which the brain, mind and external world interact.