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Affordances Explained

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


I examine the central theoretical construct of ecological psychology, the concept of an affordance. In the first part of the paper, I illustrate the role affordances play in Gibson's theory of perception. In the second part, I argue that affordances are to be understood as dispositional properties, and explain what I take to be their characteristic background circumstances, triggering circumstances and manifestations. The main purpose of my analysis is to give affordances a theoretical identity enriched by Gibson's visionary insight, but independent of the most controversial claims of the Gibsonian movement.

Psychology, Cognitive, and Neuroscience
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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I would like to thank Anthony Chemero, Carol Fowler, Bruno Galantucci, Paul Griffiths, Jim Lennox, Peter Machamer, Ruth Millikan, and Gualtiero Piccinini for their very helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper.


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