Affordances and their ontological core

Applied ontology 17 (2):285-320 (2022)
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Abstract

The notion of affordance remains elusive, notwithstanding its importance for the representation of agency, cognition, and behaviors. This paper lays down a foundation for an ontology of affordances by elaborating the idea of “core affordance” which would serve as a common ground for explaining existing diverse conceptions of affordances and their interrelationships. For this purpose, it analyzes M. T. Turvey’s dispositional theory of affordances in light of a formal ontology of dispositions. Consequently, two kinds of so-called “core affordances” are proposed: specific and general ones. Inspired directly by Turvey’s original account, a specific core affordance is intimately connected to a specific agent, as it is reciprocal with a counterpart effectivity of this agent within the agent-environment system. On the opposite, a general core affordance does not depend on individual agents; rather, its realization involves an action by an instance of a determinate class of agents. The utility of such core affordances is illustrated by examining how they can be leveraged to formalize other major accounts of affordances. Additionally, it is briefly outlined how core affordances can be employed to analyze three notions that are closely allied with affordances: the environment, image schemas, and intentions.

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The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.

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