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sensual +‎ -ism


sensualism (countable and uncountable, plural sensualisms)

  1. Addiction to or obsession with sensual pleasures or affairs.
  2. (ethics) The doctrine that gratification of the senses is the highest good.
  3. (epistemology) The doctrine that all knowledge not only originates in sensation, but are transformed sensations, copies or relics of sensations; sensationalism.
    • 1858, The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, No. 1, Gottfried Wilhem von Leibnitz,
      He [Locke] repudiated any supposed dowry of original truths or innate or connate ideas, and endeavored to show how, by acting on the report of the senses and personal experience, the understanding arrives at all the ideas of which it is conscious. The mode of procedure in this case is empiricism; the result with Locke was sensualism,--more fully developed by Condillac, [18] in the next century.
    • 1913, “Philosophy”, in Catholic Encyclopedia:
      For Sensualism the only source of human knowledge is sensation: everything reduces to transformed sensations.
  4. (art, architecture) A sensual style or aesthetic.


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