DISPOSITIONS AND AFFORDANCES FROM MATERIAL THINGS TO HUMAN SOCIETIES

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Author(s): 
Rom Harre
Georgetown University
Issue number: 
No. 4 (Vol. 42)
Pages: 
20-31
Abstract: 

Recent revival of interest in the concept of `affordance’ , that is what a procedure applied in particular circumstances and to a particular target produces either as a possibility of action or as a product of action,  has led to a wide range of applications of the concept, from psychology of perception to the interpretation of molecular orbitals. It is allied to the concept of `disposition’. It has also been linked to the two mereological fallacies: the fallacy of ascribing an attribute to a part the meaning of which is determined only in its application to the whole, and the fallacy of projecting the products of an analytical procedure back on to that analysandum as constituents. After examining the links between affordances, dispositions and the mereological fallacies  I will extend the concept of affordance to the social sphere and in relation to social processes, and examine the cases in which one or other or both of the mereological fallacies are committed in social thinking.

Keywords: 
Affordance, disposition, mereological fallacies, Umwelt, social processes
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