In Defense of Introspective Affordances

Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-19 (2024)
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Psychological and philosophical studies have extended J. J. Gibson’s notion of affordances. Affordances are possibilities for bodily action presented to us by the objects of our perception. Recent work has argued that we should extend the actions afforded by perception to mental action. I argue that we can extend the notion of affordance itself. What I call ‘Introspective Affordances’ are possibilities for mental action presented to us by introspectively accessible states. While there are some prima facie worries concerning the non-perceptual nature of introspection, I will argue that our internal mental lives share enough commonalities with experiences in our environment to warrant this extension. I will demonstrate the value of introspective affordances by showing how they allow us to explain an underexplored aspect of thought insertion.

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David Miguel Gray
University of Memphis


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