APPEARANCE—That which seems to the senses in contrast with that which is
verified. Phenomenon, in contrast with fact. German, Erscheinung. The
distinction between appearance and reality is as old as philosophy. It is
recognised, e.g., in the Eleatic and Heraclitic distinction of Being and
Becoming, in Plato's distinction between the one and the many, the idea
or essence and the sensible thing which is its shadow.
This absolute opposition of Plato is overcome
by Aristotle, who finds the essence in the appearance, the one
in the many, the ideal in the sensible. The distinction
reappears in modern philosophy, in Locke's contrast between substance or substratum, and the
qualities which it underlies, and in Kant's Thing-in-itself, or Noumenon as
opposed to the Phenomenon. Hegel identifies Essence and Appearance,
Noumenon and Phenomenon, finding in the latter only the manifestation or
realisation of the former.