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Cognitive sciences have been interminably in search for a consistent philosophical framework for the description of perceptual phenomena. Most of the frameworks in usage today fall in-between the extremes of constructivism and objective realism. However, whereas constructivist cognitive theories face difficulties when attempting to explain the experiential commonality of different cognitive entities, objectivistic theories fail in explaining the active role of the subject in the formation of experiences. This paper undertakes to compare and eventually combine these two major approaches to describing cognitive phenomena. It is argued that constructivist explanations inevitably refer to a ‘hidden’ ontological source of experience, and that a compromise between the constructivist and realistic standpoints presents a natural basis for understanding cognitive phenomena. A view of all experiences as co-created through an interplay between a constructivist creativity and a realistic source of perceptual stimuli is proposed. A middle ground between the hardly compatible constructivist and objectivistic approaches to experiential realities is proposed from the standpoint of experiential co-creation. Traditionally divided, idealistic and realistic philosophical stances may thus become merged into a single consistent epistemological framework. Many favorable cognitive and psychosomatic consequences may arise from acknowledging the balance between ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ creativity proposed by the co-creational thesis.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Pragmatics & Cognition, volume 19, issue 3, in 2011 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1075/pc.19.3.08usk.


John Benjamins Publishing



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