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Material vs Physical vs Corporeal vs Phenomenal vs Sensible vs Objective

Materialphysicalcorporealphenomenalsensibleobjective are comparable when they mean belonging to or having a relation to things that belong to the world of actuality or of things apparent to the senses.

Material applies to whatever is formed of matter or relates to things formed of matter; it often implies an opposition to spiritual, but it may imply an antithesis to ideal, formal, intangible, or impalpable.

Physical (see also BODILY ) differs from material chiefly in suggesting an opposition to psychical, mental, metaphysical, imaginary, and, less often, spiritual; it applies especially to things perceived by the senses or capable of being dealt with in the same manner as objects of sense, and it usually implies a contrast to things knowable only through thought or intuition or built up by the mind or imagination; thus, the material objects and the physical objects within one’s reach may be exactly the same objects, but material suggests their substantial nature and physical suggests their susceptibility of perception and identification, or, what is more important in science, of being weighed and measured. In scientific use physical is also applicable to things that are not objects, but forces, actions, motions, or states which are operative in nature or in mechanics and which can be measured or calculated, or put to use, even though, strictly speaking, they cannot be handled.

Corporeal (see also BODILY ) applies to what not only has physical existence but also is tangible or can be described as a body; thus, energy in itself has no corporeal existence though it is a physical power found usually in corporeal things.

Phenomenal implies a relation to what is known or knowable through the senses and experience, as distinguished from what is knowable only through thought or intuition because beyond perception by the senses; the term is chiefly used in philosophy and science when there is an intent to mark the line between what is actually perceived and what has been ascertained by the reason, has been accepted by faith, or is theoretical or hypothetical.

Sensible which basically applies to what is known or knowable through sense experience and thereby comprehends the specific terms visible, audible, tangible, palpable is sometimes opposed to intelligible, conceptual, or notional.

Objective (see also FAIR ) implies the same kind of existence as phenomenal and sensible, but it stresses the apartness of the thing known through the senses from the person who perceives it through his senses; the term, therefore, implies not only material existence but an existence which is or is felt as uncolored by the prejudices and preconceptions of the perceiver.