The Gibsonian Concept of Affordance: Genealogy, Breaking off and Conceptual Reconstruction

Niveleau Charles-Edouard
Language of the article : French
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2006.1341
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Long before cognitive sciences rediscovered the motor implications of perception, gibsonian ecology had already provided an account of it with the concept of affordance. Although Gibson’s concept explicitly originates from Gestalt psychology, the exact nature of this relationship has been almost systematically forgotten, resulting in just the distancing from that tradition. This paper aims to analyze the nature and the scope of such a distancing. It seems necessary, then, to reconstruct the principle stages of the genesis of the concept of affordance among gestaltists and to confront the gibsonian conception to these preliminary works. Gibson did not entirely succeed in providing a definitive definition of affordance and it is instructive to analyze the level at which some contemporary psychologists try to improve this definition. Yet, even if these debates inside the ecological movement elucidate some problems peculiar to the concept of affordance, the aim of this paper is essentially to show that the distancing sought by Gibson has led to an important reduction of the original concept of affordance.

Pour citer cet article :

Niveleau Charles-Edouard (2006/1). The Gibsonian Concept of Affordance: Genealogy, Breaking off and Conceptual Reconstruction. In Brassac Christian (Eds), Internalism / Externalism, Intellectica, 43, (pp.159-199), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2006.1341.