Positions in the ongoing debate regarding rhetorical epistemology can be typified by a continuum with objectivists at one end and intersubjectivists at the other. This essay suggests that a middle position may better serve the communication discipline. The authors provide an overview of the debate, then present three common uses of the term “reality” (objective reality, social reality, and intrapersonal reality) as guides for understanding the positions of the debaters. New labels for these uses of “reality,” combined with a discussion of the vital role of intrapersonal processes in epistemology, provide a position that emphasizes the significance of both symbols and their referents. Such a position satisfies the demands of the rhetorical and social science approaches to the study of human communication.

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Copyright © 1995 Midnight Oil & Speech Communication Association. This chapter first appeared in Intrapersonal Communication Processes.

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