Noumenon

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The noumenon (from Greek νοούμενoν, present participle of νοέω "I think, I mean"; plural: νοούμενα - noumena) is a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the senses.[1] Classically, the noumenal realm is the higher reality known to the philosophical mind.[2] However, the term is better known from the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, where noumena are regarded as unknowable to humans. The term is generally used in contrast with, or in relation to "phenomenon", which in philosophy refers to anything that appears, or objects of the senses. (The idea of a phenomenon as an exceptional, unusual, or abnormal thing or event is a later development). In Kantian philosophy the unknowable noumenon is often linked to the unknowable thing-in-itself ("Ding an sich"), although the nature of the relationship is open to some controversy.

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Etymology

"Νοούμενον" is the nominative, neuter, singular, middle/passive participle of the ancient Greek word, "νοεῖν (noein)", which in turn originates from "nous" (roughly, "mind"). Noumenon does not refer to "numinous", a term coined by Rudolf Otto who, though well versed in Kant, drew the term from the Latin word numen which means deity, divine will or divine presence; it is unknown however if the ancient Latinate etymology of numen itself is not of Greek origin.

Pre-Kantian usage

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