Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 565–589 | Cite as

Are affordances normative?

  • Manuel Heras-Escribano
  • Manuel de PinedoEmail author


In this paper we explore in what sense we can claim that affordances, the objects of perception for ecological psychology, are related to normativity. First, we offer an account of normativity and provide some examples of how it is understood in the specialized literature. Affordances, we claim, lack correctness criteria and, hence, the possibility of error is not among their necessary conditions. For this reason we will oppose Chemero’s (2009) normative theory of affordances. Finally, we will show that there is a way in which taking advantage of affordances could be considered as possessing a normative character, but only when they are evaluated within the framework of social normative standards in particular situations. This reinforces our claim that affordances, per se, lack normativity and can only be taken to be rule-governed in relation to established normative practices.


Affordances Normativity Perception Ecological psychology 



This paper was partially funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación under the research projects “Dispositions, Holism and Agency” (FFI2010-19455) and “Naturalism, Expressivism and Normativity” (FFI2013-44836). We are thankful to two anonymous referees and to Paco Calvo, Álex Díaz, Jorge Ibáñez, David Jacobs, Lorena Lobo, María Muñoz, David Travieso, Julian Kiverstein, Jason Noble, Andrés Soria, María José Frápolli and John McDowell for fruitful comments and discussions on previous drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Filosofía I, Edificio Facultad de Psicología, Campus de CartujaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain

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