Volume 11 · Number 1 · Pages 148–157
Towards a PL-Metaphysics of Perception: In Search of the Metaphysical Roots of Constructivism

Konrad Werner

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Context: Metaphysics of perception explores fundamental questions regarding the structure and status of the perceived world (or the world qua perceived. As such, it must not be separated from metaphysics per se. Problem: Although philosophy should be distinguished from the history of philosophy, it is nevertheless, say, sensitive to history. It means that in doing philosophy in general and metaphysics in particular, we re-establish, re-think ideas - questions and answers - of our antecessors; we set them anew so that they are vivid roots of contemporary thinking. My point is that movements in contemporary philosophy and cognitive science, such as radical constructivism or enactive and embodied cognition, need a metaphysical grounding. Method: I present a more elaborate account of PL-metaphysics as proposed by Jerzy Perzanowski, i.e., the stream of ideas grounded first of all in the conceptions of Plato and Leibniz. PL-metaphysics shall be compared to what I call, in the same spirit, DL-metaphysics, i.e., the stream grounded in the ideas of Descartes and Locke. On this basis, I propose to reconsider radical constructivism and pursue the question whether PL-metaphysics has anything interesting to offer in this field. Results: PL-metaphysics does have something interesting to offer due to the fact that according to it, perception is not conceived of as a transmission from an “objective” reality to the internal mental realm; as a result of perception, reality is actualized in some way, i.e., it acquires some presentation(s) or appearance(s. By virtue of perception, the apparent world comes to existence. This, however, does not mean that the apparent world is a projection of mind, that it exists “in the head.” Implications: PL-metaphysics reconciles realism with constructivism. As such, it might be considered either an alternative to constructivism or an improvement and completion of this position. Constructivist content: The article refers to non-Cartesian movements in contemporary philosophy, including radical constructivism, enactive and embodied cognition. Keywords: Perception, metaphysics, radical constructivism, realism, appearance, Jerzy Perzanowski, Plato, Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz, Ernst von Glasersfeld.


Werner K. (2015) Towards a pl-metaphysics of perception: In search of the metaphysical roots of constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 11(1): 148–157. http://constructivist.info/11/1/148

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