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A phenomenon (from Greek φαινόμενoν), plural phenomena or phenomenons, is any observable occurrence.[1] In popular usage, a phenomenon often refers to an extraordinary event. In scientific usage, a phenomenon is any event that is observable, however commonplace it might be, even if it requires the use of instrumentation to observe, record, or compile data concerning it. For example, in physics, a phenomenon may be a feature of matter, energy, or spacetime, such as Isaac Newton's observations of the moon's orbit and of gravity, or Galileo Galilei's observations of the motion of a pendulum.[2]


Use in gemology

In gemology a phenomenon is an unusual optical effect that is displayed by a gem. Play-of-color, labradorescence, iridescence, adularescence, chatoyancy, asterism, aventurescence, lustre and color change are all phenomena of this type.

Use in philosophy

In philosophy, the use of the word phenomenon differs from other uses in that it refers to perceived events.

The term came into its modern philosophical usage through Immanuel Kant, who contrasted it with noumenon (for which he used the term "Ding an sich", or "thing-in-itself") or Absolute. Kant was heavily influenced by Leibniz in this part of his philosophy. 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.

Mechanical phenomena

A mechanical phenomenon is the use of applied mechanics to study the motion or equilibrium of objects related to a physical phenomenon.[3] Biomechanics is the study of the mechanics of living organisms; examples of biomechanic include the mechanics of the digestive tract,[4] the mechanics of swallowing,[5] animal locomotion and the mechanics of sex.

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