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If some people thinks that something outside the physical world can have an impact upon it, then what do people call the thing outside the physical world? Is there a common word or what are some of the words used to describe it?

  • This question is very [almost too] broad. But, the word you are looking for is "Transcendental." Look it up. – gonzo Aug 4 at 3:51
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    There are different things (people think are) outside of physical world, ideal world and spiritual world most commonly, metaphysical is often used to describe the "deeper" layer of reality. – Conifold Aug 4 at 4:18
  • nb "metaphysics of matter" google.com/… – user47711 Aug 4 at 6:51
  • @gonzo That sounds like the noumenon then, i.e. "Immanuel Kant first developed the notion of the noumenon as part of his transcendental idealism" - however, the noumenon still refers to the physical world. The OP wants to refer to something beyond the noumenon, such as the mental plane. – Chris Degnen Aug 4 at 13:08
  • @Chris Degnen I was not referring to the Kantian notion of transcendental (i.e. presupposed in and necessary to experience; a priori) but to "Transcendental describes anything that has to do with the spiritual, non-physical world. ... When something is transcendental, it's beyond ordinary, everyday experience. It might be religious, spiritual, or otherworldly, but if it's transcendental, it transcends — or goes beyond — the regular physical realm" – gonzo Aug 4 at 18:44
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This question is very [almost too] broad. But, the word you are looking for is "Transcendental," which, as noted by Steven, in its traditional definition [which is unrelated to the Kantian notion of trancendental, i.e. presupposed in and necessary to experience, a priori, etc.] "describes anything that has to do with the spiritual, non-physical world. ... When something is transcendental, it's beyond ordinary, everyday experience. It might be religious, spiritual, [metaphysical] or otherworldly, but if it's transcendental, it transcends — or goes beyond — the regular physical realm"

Alternatively, if the focus is on [the] mind/body dualism [problem], then the term you want is qualia, essentially the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena. See https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia/, or, possibly better, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-knowledge.

And the issue you point to, that is, whether "something outside the physical world can have an impact upon [the physical]," arises, inter alia, in the free will v. determinism debate (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/), often under the guise of of agency and necessity.

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    I don't follow that. Law, real estate, and traffic lights aren't physical but they are very much a part of everyday experience. Are traffic lights transcendental? Go on green and stop on red is a social agreement, not a law of nature. – user4894 Aug 4 at 21:22
  • @ user4894 Forgive me, but I'm not sure that I grasp your point. This is not a realism/anti-realism/constructivism issue. Maybe this SEP article is better suited than the one I cited earlier. plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-knowledge. Consider Frank Jackson’s thought experiment (in section 2 of the article) re the color neurophysiologist, Mary. The issue this TE highlights has long been a contentious one in academic philosophy. One either sees the salience of it or not. If you remain confused after perusing it, I do not believe there is anything I can say to help. – gonzo Aug 4 at 22:37
  • I am not and was never confused. I don't think there's anything I can say to help you either. – user4894 Aug 4 at 23:06
  • @ user4894It seems that I have angered you. Why? I simply do not understand what "Law, real estate, and traffic lights aren't physical but they are very much a part of everyday experience. Are traffic lights transcendental? Go on green and stop on red is a social agreement, not a law of nature" has to do with Qualia. Or, if your beef has to do with the 1st paragraph of my answer, I am utterly agnostic about the existence of anything that purports to "transcend" materialism/physicalism/empiricism. I am NOT arguing for the existence of those entities, but only answering the OP's question. – gonzo Aug 4 at 23:32
  • You were snarky. I snarked back. I took exception to your claim that I was confused. I am in fact not confuses at all on this point, you are. Have a look here. Not interested in explaining this to you. books.google.com/books/about/… – user4894 Aug 5 at 0:38
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Transcendental

Transcendental describes anything that has to do with the spiritual, non-physical world.

Transcendental

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  • That is one version - the general, religious one, by the sounds of it. However, "In phenomenology, the "transcendent" is that which transcends our own consciousness: that which is objective rather than only a phenomenon of consciousness", (and so, of the physical world). ref. Wikipedia: Transcendence – Chris Degnen Aug 4 at 14:25
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Both "physical" and "outside the physical" are tricky terms. One classic distinction is that of Aristotle between what can be commonly perceived and studied in terms of shape, form, mass, causation, etc. under "physics" and everything else, which came "after" his book of physics and was thus called "metaphysics."

The term has lingered to denote entities beyond the reach of physics and providing, to physicists, disreputable or at least gratuitous explanations for otherwise physical events.

The mathematical advance of physics has made such distinctions ever more problematic. Long before quanta, the Cartesians described Newton's "gravity" as suspiciously metaphysical, because you could not perceive it or see it "pulling" or "pushing" objects.

What's interesting, I think, is the metaphor of "outside the physical." When we see physical objects we assume they have another unseen "side." We can walk around them to confirm this, but cannot then see the first side, so there is always another side or "outside." We seem to naturally extend this metaphor to the universe and the possible limits of perception. Everything must also include its own "other" side.

Yet it might be more suitable today to speak of deep "inside the physical," where hypothetical quarks and other mathematical objects intervene in the physical realm we can see. As others have noted, your question is very broad, but one answer then might be the "mathematical world," whose relations to the "physical world" have intrigued philosophers since the days of the Pythagorians.

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  • An interesting and imaginative answer (you got my vote). Though Kant might object that his synthetic a priori addressed the issue as well as can be expected. Which might be what your rather enigmatic and poetic last sentence to the 4th paragraph brings into view. – gonzo Aug 4 at 22:51
  • Thanks. And agree. Yes, there was very similar question recently in which I hauled in Kant's noumena, so didn't repeat that here. – Nelson Alexander Aug 5 at 17:42
  • Have a look at the last few comments under my answer, which to some extent deal with this topic/issue, and where I reference your answer. – gonzo Aug 5 at 17:53
  • @Dcleve's sentence "Once one accepts that both consciousness and ideas are as real and everyday as matter, then the word for "beyond matter" is "our universe" is stunning. Only recently has global/radical skepticism/anti realism, linguistic idealism, and structural/systemic/moral realism been coupled so seamlessly. I find the instability of this project breathtaking. – gonzo Aug 5 at 18:10

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