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Literature and Ideas

noumenon

n.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

That which exists, as distinguished from that which merely seems to exist, the latter being a phenomenon. The noumenon is a bit difficult to locate; it can be apprehended only be a process of reasoning — which is a phenomenon. Nevertheless, the discovery and exposition of noumena offer a rich field for what Lewes calls “the endless variety and excitement of philosophic thought.” Hurrah (therefore) for the noumenon!