Is there a concept that refers to phenomena that are caused or seemingly caused by something outside the physical realm? I am referring to phenomena that seems to have been shown to be caused by something outside the physical realm, or the quantum realm, if the quantum realm is considered to be separate of the physical realm. The experiment showing that no discernible cause (invisible matter or force that cannot be perceived or detected), we would use the concept to refer to the possibility that the cause must be external of our universe or physical realm.

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    There is a concept for the negation of what you ask, the completeness of the physical, a.k.a. causal closure of the physical. Events unexplainable by physical causes are typically called miracles. No uncontroversial examples of miracles have been presented so far.
    – Conifold
    Jul 30, 2020 at 6:52
  • Needs to be clarified.When you say "something outside the physical realm", is it the noumena? In such case, there you have the name, or "thing-in-itself". Otherwise, do you refer to something else, which exceeds phenomena and the noumena? I can't imagine what; I don't agree with Conifold in such object being something else than the noumena (i.e. God).
    – RodolfoAP
    Jul 30, 2020 at 8:13
  • John's comment suggests a possible ambiguity in the OP. Causal closure does not rule out "acausal" events that are not determined by prior events. It only claims that no other causes exist beyond the physical ones, which is what the question seems to be about. Quantum random events are consistent with that unless one assumes that there are some extra-physical causes that determine the outcomes. However, the standard interpretation is that there are none, such events simply do not have sufficient causes, physical or otherwise, they are "truly random".
    – Conifold
    Jul 30, 2020 at 20:44
  • You may wish to peruse this, to some extent parallel, post. philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/75530/…
    – gonzo
    Aug 5, 2020 at 4:33

4 Answers 4


Not necessarily ‘outside’ the physical universe, more like ‘not understood’ or not ‘publicly known’ within this universe. If you’re wondering or need to explain your side to receive a better answer, contact me. Consider metaphysics and the possibility of 4th dimensional interference while humans can only perceive three (l x w x h).

  • @wedecide ‘not understood’ and not ‘publicly known’ suggest that there is a physical explanation yet to be discovered. Your question appears to exclude such explanations. Can you clarify your question so that it is consistent with the answer you ticked? Either that, or tick a different answer instead. Aug 2, 2020 at 16:04
  • It’s not a answer deserving of the public to hear. Context specific, the only person that needs the answer is the person that asked. Others display no need of knowing so it is not my place to divulge the information publically.
    – Emero
    Aug 3, 2020 at 17:04
  • If there is a name for the ‘concept’, it would be the concept of paranormal/abnormal occurrence unbeknownst to the majority of mankind, by definition of normal referring to that which is already widely known to be explained.
    – Emero
    Aug 3, 2020 at 17:10

I believe you mean "magic" - or "supernatural" events or entities. While I would be somewhat dismissive of such claims, the majority of people in the world believe in such phenomena. In the USA, a 2007 poll found that 19 percent of Americans believe in “spells or witchcraft,”
23% say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one’s presence, 34% of people who say they believe in ghosts, 35% of people who say they believe in UFOs. (common parlance for space-alien 'visitors') 64% of people believe in a personal God or Gods who interacts with us/talks to people.


The quantum realm is not to be considered as a different realm, our reality is made up of quantums. It's only a different scale, at which certain physical properties ct different on the elements of that "size".

The most general concept for "strange" causation from outside the physical world is "paranormal", though it may include events that are just unexpected, like alien visits.

Various other realms have been proposed. I. Philosophy, 'dualism' refers to the notion that human actions in the physical realm are caused by mental actions in the separate mental realm.

The words "transcendental" and "qualia" can indicate elements of other realms (out just things that cannot be described in terms of physics).

In religion diverse non-physical realms are suggested or implied, like paradise, hell, Nirvana, the afterlife, the eternal hunting grounds, and so on. Those might be said to interact with the physical world, sometimes. Though I am not aware of a unifying concept, other than reusing "dualism".


Idealism? In Kant's modern idealism, for example, the "phenomena" are related to or in some sense "caused" by "noumena," the Ding an Sich or thing-in-itself. These noumenal entities are beyond direct knowledge or any firm basis of judgment, thus beyond what we might call the physical realm of causality and other laws of physics. How exactly these material and ideal realms are connected remains problematic, as in Cartesian dualism. For Kant, the self or subject may itself be noumenal and is thus endowed with freedom, which Kant describes as a different type of "nonphysical" causality. This probably isn't what you were looking for. But in a sense all of idealism from Plato on would require the sort of terminology sought in your question. I'd agree too with Noah Edelson, above, that broadly "supernatural" is pretty much synonymous with visual, auditory, or other sense data from a "nonphysical" or metaphysical source. Not sure I agree about magic, however, which can be thought of as a sort of misdirected or unproven physics, manipulating forces in a physical continuum. But I doubt practitioners of magic agree upon, or even want, a clear definition of its bounds, which reach so luxuriously from card tricks to dread shapes summoned out of Spiritus Mundi.

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