Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE
Being Perceived and Being ‘Seen’: Interpersonal Affordances, Agency, and Selfhood
- 1University of Wollongong, Australia
Are interpersonal affordances a distinct type of affordance, and if so, what is it that differentiates them from other kinds of affordances? In this paper, I show that a hard distinction between interpersonal affordances and other affordances is warranted and ethically important. The enactivist theory of participatory sense-making demonstrates that there is a difference in coupling between agent-environment and agent-agent interactions, and these differences in coupling provide a basis for distinguishing between the perception of environmental and interpersonal affordances. Building further on this foundation for understanding interpersonal affordances, I argue that in line with some enactivist work on social cognition, interpersonal affordances ought to be considered those that are afforded by agents and are recognized as such. Building on this distinction, I also make the point that because our social conventions establish persons as more than mere agents, the direct perception of interpersonal affordances may also involve seeing others as embodied selves. Distinguishing between types of affordances thus also matters ethically: there can be harms done when an agent is not perceived as an agent, and there can be harms done when an agent is not perceived as a self.
Keywords: social affordances, direct perception, agency, interpersonal affordances, Selfhood, ecological enactivism , participatory sense-making
Received: 02 Feb 2020;
Accepted: 24 Jun 2020.
Copyright: © 2020 Brancazio. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
* Correspondence: Ms. Nick Brancazio, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, email@example.com