Affordances as properties of the animal-environment system

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Abstract

This chapter argues that affordances are properties of the animal-environment system, that is, that they are emergent properties that do not inhere in either the environment or the animal. Affordances are central to the ecological approach to perception and action. James Gibson coined the term affordance as the noun form of the verb to afford. The environment of a given animal affords things for that animal. There is agreement that the ecological approach to perception and action is a systems approach to behavior and that affordances are a central part of this systems-based approach. Dispositionals never fail to be actualized when conjoined with suitable circumstances. Disposition and suitable circumstance equals actuality. The number of actions that are available to a given animal in a given situation is unlimited. It is true that the point of observation and the environment are cospecified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHow Shall Affordances be Refined?
Subtitle of host publicationFour Perspectives: A Special Issue of Ecological Psychology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages115-134
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781135885762
ISBN (Print)9780805895933
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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