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Phenomenalism is the view that physical reality is ultimately nothing more than a potential for conscious experience. Classically, the view is defined in terms of “sensation-conditionals”: counterfactual conditionals to the effect that experiences with certain phenomenal properties (qualia) would occur, if experiences with certain other qualia were to occur. Classic phenomenalism is a combination of two claims: (1) that for every physical state of affairs, there is some conjunction of sensation-conditionals whose truth logically entails the existence of that state of affairs, and, (2) that in order for a physical state of affairs to exist, it’s unnecessary for there to be anything (monads, God, noumena, or whatever) that makes the relevant sensation-conditionals true. It is the second claim that distinguishes phenomenalism from canonical idealism. 

Key works Chapters 11 and 12 of Mill 1865 contain the original statement of the phenomenalist position. The first attempt to develop phenomenalism in detail is Carnap 1928 (for subsequent attempts, see Price 1932, Chapter 8 of Lewis 1946, and Pelczar 2015). Other extended discussions include Ayer 1946, Chapters 5 and 6 of Armstrong 1961, Chapter 2 of Smart 1963, Chapter 5 of Fumerton 1985, and Chapter 9 of Robinson 1994.
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  1. R. I. Aaron (1938). How May Phenomenalism Be Refuted? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 39:167 - 184.
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  2. E. M. Adams (1959). The Inadequacy of Phenomenalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 20 (1):93-102.
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  3. Robert Merrihew Adams (1983). Phenomenalism and Corporeal Substance in Leibniz. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 8 (1):217-257.
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  4. Leslie Allan, The Existence of Mind-Independent Physical Objects.
    The author challenges both the eliminative idealist's contention that physical objects do not exist and the phenomenalist idealist's view that statements about physical objects are translatable into statements about private mental experiences. Firstly, he details how phenomenalist translations are parasitic on the realist assumption that physical objects exist independently of experience. Secondly, the author confronts eliminative idealism head on by exposing its heuristic sterility in contrast with realism's predictive success.
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  5. Richard E. Aquila (1975). Kant's Phenomenalism. Idealistic Studies 5 (2):108-126.
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  6. David M. Armstrong (1961). Perception And The Physical World. Humanities Press.
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  7. A. J. Ayer (1946). Phenomenalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 47:163 - 196.
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  8. E. Barkin (2003). Relative Phenomenalism - Toward a More Plausible Theory of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (8):3-13.
    Most philosophers believe that qualitative states must be explained in terms of physical states of the brain in order to resolve the mind/ body problem. But the severe difficulties involved in deriving the mental from the physical or, even more bizarrely, eliminating the mental altogether, have caused some to seriously investigate Russell's longstanding ideas about the intrinsic nature of physical entities. The resulting microphenomenal approaches, however, are of necessity extremely vague and complicated. Consequently, a macrophenomenal theory of mind may well (...)
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  9. Monroe C. Beardsley (1942). Phenomenalism and Determinism. Journal of Philosophy 39 (26):711-717.
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  10. Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.) (2005). Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon.
    This volume will be the starting point for future discussion and research.
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  11. M. Black (1939). Comments on a Recent Version of Phenomenalism. Analysis 7 (1):1 - 12.
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  12. John Bolender (1998). Factual Phenomenalism: A Supervenience Theory. Sorites 9 (9):16-31.
    Broadly speaking, phenomenalism is the position that physical facts depend upon sensory facts. Many have thought it to imply that physical statements are translatable into sensory statements. Not surprisingly, the impossibility of such translations led many to abandon phenomenalism in favor of materialism. But this was rash, for if phenomenalism is reformulated as the claim that physical facts supervene upon sensory facts, then translatability is no longer required. Given materialism's failure to account for subjective experience, there has been a revival (...)
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  13. R. B. Braithwaite (1938). XIV.—Propositions About Material Objects. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 38 (1):269-290.
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  14. C. D. Broad (1914). Phenomenalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 15:227 - 251.
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  15. Gregory Brown (1987). God's Phenomena and the Pre-Established Harmony. Studia Leibnitiana 19 (2):200-214.
    In this paper I wish to examine the nature and role of "the phenomena of God" in Leinbiz's mature thought. In the first part of the paper, I discuss the nature of the universal harmony and argue that they are the perceptiual states of finite substances and the relations among them that constitute God's phenomena. In the second part of the paper, I attempt to specify the theoretical role that God's phenomena play in Leibniz's phenomenalism. This leads finally to a (...)
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  16. Robert Brown & John Watling (1951). Hypothetical Statements in Phenomenalism. Synthese 8 (8/9):355 - 366.
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  17. Rudolf Carnap (1967). The Logical Structure of the World. Berkeley, University of California Press.
  18. Roderick M. Chisholm (1948). The Problem of Empiricism. Journal of Philosophy 45 (19):512-517.
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  19. Mark Thomas Coppenger (1974). A Defense of Phenomenalism. Dissertation, Vanderbilt University
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  20. James W. Cornman (1973). Theoretical Phenomenalism. Noûs 7 (2):120-138.
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  21. J. W. Davis (1962). Berkeley and Phenomenalism. Dialogue 1 (1):67-80.
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  22. Steven French & James Ladyman (2003). Between Platonism and Phenomenalism: Reply to Cao. Synthese 136 (1):73-78.
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  23. Steven French & James Ladyman (2003). The Dissolution of Objects: Between Platonism and Phenomenalism. [REVIEW] Synthese 136 (1):73 - 77.
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  24. Richard A. Fumerton (1985). Metaphysical And Epistemological Problems Of Perception. Lincoln: University Nebraska Press.
  25. Richard Anthony Fumerton (1974). Phenomenalism. Dissertation, Brown University
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  26. Montgomery Furth (1967). Monadology. Philosophical Review 76 (2):169-200.
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  27. Robert L. Greenwood (1985). C.I. Lewis and the Issue of Phenomenalism. Philosophy Research Archives 11:441-452.
    According to the received view, the philosophy of C.I. Lewis is a form of phenomenalism. The first part of this paper is an argument designed to show that Lewis does not support one of the necessary conditions for ontological phenomenalism; namely, the sense-datum theory. The secondpart is an argument designed to show that Lewis’ theory is incompatible with linguistic phenomenalism, a view according to which there is an equivalence of meaning between physical object statements and sense-data statements. The argument is (...)
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  28. Andy Hamilton (1998). Mill, Phenomenalism, and the Self. In John Skorupski (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Mill. Cambridge University Press 139--75.
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  29. W. F. R. Hardie (1945). The Paradox of Phenomenalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 46:127 - 154.
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  30. David Hume (1739/2000). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford University Press.
    A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), David Hume's comprehensive attempt to base philosophy on a new, observationally grounded study of human nature, is one of the most important texts in Western philosophy. It is also the focal point of current attempts to understand 18th-century philosophy. -/- The Treatise first explains how we form such concepts as cause and effect, external existence, and personal identity, and to form compelling but unconfirmable beliefs in the entities represented by these concepts. It then offers (...)
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  31. Takeo Iwasaki (1974). A Criticism of Phenomenalism. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 28 (1/2=107/108):116.
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  32. Vladimir Jankélévitch (1959). Le Je-Ne-Sais-Quol Et le Presque-Rien. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 15 (2):216-217.
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  33. Nicholas Jolley (1986). Leibniz and Phenomenalism. Studia Leibnitiana 18 (1):38-51.
    Leibniz est-il devenu phénoménaliste pendant ses années dernières ? Contre Furth et Loeb, ce travail rend une réponse négative à cette question. Quoique Leibniz a caressé les idées phénoménalistes, il ne les a jamais vraiment acceptées ; au contraire, il soutient une autre thèse réductioniste, c'est-à-dire que les corps sont des agrégats des monades. Cependant, cette conclusion entraîne ses propres difficultés, car à certains égards, la doctrine phénoménaliste paraît plus satisfaisante que l'option concurrante. On soutient que la répugnance leibnizienne à (...)
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  34. T. Z. Lavine (1981). C. I. Lewis and the Problem of Phenomenalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (3):386-395.
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  35. Geoffrey Lee (forthcoming). Worlds, Voyages and Experiences: Commentary on Pelczar’s Sensorama. [REVIEW] Analysis.
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  36. C. I. Lewis (1955). Realism or Phenomenalism? Philosophical Review 64 (2):233-247.
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  37. C. I. Lewis (1946). An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation. Open Court.
    We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
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  38. David Liggins (2005). Truthmakers and Explanation. In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon 105--115.
    Truthmaker theory promises to do some useful philosophical work: equipping us to argue against phenomenalism and Rylean behaviourism, for instance, and helping us decide what exists (Lewis 1999, 207; Armstrong 1997, 113-119). But it has proved hard to formulate a truthmaker theory that is both useful and believable. I want to suggest that a neglected approach to truthmakers – that of Ian McFetridge – can surmount some of the problems that make other theories of truthmaking unattractive. To begin with, I’ll (...)
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  39. D. G. C. Macnabb (1940). Phenomenalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 41:67 - 90.
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  40. J. P. McKinney (1959). Phenomenalism: A Survey and Reassessment. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):221 – 233.
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  41. Robert McRae (1948). Phenomenalism and J. S. Mill's Theory of Causation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 9 (2):237-250.
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  42. John Stuart Mill (1865). An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, and of the Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in His Writings. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green.
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  43. Eugene Mills (forthcoming). Introspection in Michael Pelczar’s Sensorama. [REVIEW] Analysis.
  44. Asher Moore (1950). Verifiability and Phenomenalism. Journal of Philosophy 47 (7):169-177.
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  45. Jean Nicod (1924). La Geometrie dans le Monde Sensible. F. Alcan.
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  46. Robert A. Oakes (1977). An Illusion About Phenomenalism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 15 (2):201-206.
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  47. Kenneth L. Pearce (2016). Leibniz and the Veridicality of Body Perceptions. Philosophers' Imprint 16 (5).
    According to Leibniz's late metaphysics, sensory perception represents to us as extended, colored, textured, etc., a world which fundamentally consists only of non-spatial, colorless entities, the monads. It is a short step from here to the conclusion that sensory perception radically misleads us about the true nature of reality. In this paper, I argue that this oft-repeated claim is false. Leibniz holds that in typical cases of body perception the bodies perceived really exist and have the qualities, both primary and (...)
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  48. Michael Pelczar (forthcoming). Author's Summary, and Replies to Commentators. [REVIEW] Analysis.
  49. Michael Pelczar (forthcoming). What is Time? In Ian Phillips (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Temporal Experience. Routledge
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  50. Michael Pelczar (2015). Sensorama: A Phenomenalist Analysis of Spacetime and Its Contents. Oxford University Press.
    How does the modern scientific conception of time constrain the project of assigning the mind its proper place in nature? On the scientific conception, it makes no sense to speak of the duration of a pain, or the simultaneity of sensations occurring in different parts of the brain. Such considerations led Henri Poincaré, one of the founders of the modern conception, to conclude that consciousness does not exist in spacetime, but serves as the basic material out of which we must (...)
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