Volume 15 · Number 3 · Pages 199–213
Précis of The Philosophy of Affordances

Manuel Heras-Escribano

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Abstract

Context: Affordances are gaining momentum as a key object of study in the cognitive sciences and the philosophy of mind. In The Philosophy of Affordances I propose a new way to understand affordances that avoids some philosophical problems that have been overlooked in the literature. Problem: I summarize two of the problems and discussions that are analyzed in the book: first, the ontological characterization of affordances; second, the alleged normative character of affordances. Method: I apply a conceptual analysis of the main philosophical implications that result from understanding affordances as grounded on the principles of the ecological approach. Results: I propose a dispositional approach to affordances based on a Rylean, non-reductive perspective that avoids both the hidden Platonic commitment of dispositionalism and the alleged normative character attributed to affordances. Implications: Affordances can be understood as dispositional properties from a non-reductive or Rylean perspective, which helps preclude some key problems related to the ontological status of these scientific entities. Constructivist content: Affordances do not imply mental construction; they refer to a new way in which we can describe the reciprocity between organism and environment while avoiding dualizing terms. Keywords: Affordance, agency, ecological information, enactivism, disposition, James J. Gibson, normativity, phenomenology, Gilbert Ryle.

Handling Editor: Alexander Riegler

Citation

Heras-Escribano M. (2020) Précis of the philosophy of affordances. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 199–213. https://constructivist.info/15/3/199

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