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PHD-DESIGN  May 2018

PHD-DESIGN May 2018

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Subject:

Re: Gibson and affordances

From:

David Sless <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 17 May 2018 12:29:44 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

On 17/5/18 7:15 am, Don Norman wrote:
> our disagreements were based on the fact that I
> wanted to understand the underlying brain mechanisms whereas he argued for
> pure "information pickup," without any internal processing.  I still don't
> understand what he meant by that
This may or may not help:
The difference between you and Gibson, as I see it, are profoundly
philosophical. To use the vernacular of professional philosophers: you
view the world through the lense of empiricism, Gibson, in his latter
work, viewed the world through the lense of realism. Put VERY simply,
you look to empirical evidence for the proof of whether or not something
exists. Gibson looks to what he regards as the reality of the
environment in which we live to define what exists.

I have just read Keith Russell's response which more or less says, much
better than I do, what Gibson was about.

I will add just a small bit. Instead of seeeing us as independent from
our environment, Gibson sees us as creatures of our environemnt, evolved
over time to deal with the enevironment in which we move, avoid harm,
collect food, make things etc. To do these things as succesfully and as
economically as possible our ancestors, back to single cell organisms,
progressively internalised the consistent characteristics of the
environment through which we moved in such a way that we did not need to
constantly anaslyse the environment, but rather internalised its
characteristics. To use a modern metaphor, the charcteristics of our
environment (affordances) are hard wired into us, but not at the plastic
neurological level, but at the biological structural level. Our eyes, as
an example, are the way they are and where they are in our anatomy not
because of neurological features, but because of the way they have
evolved in a REAL environemnt to deal with that environment. Gibson thus
moved from Empiricism to Realism.

This marks out a significant and radical difference between what I
surmise is your way of thinking and that of Gibson. You seem to be
asking for a 'mechanism' such as information processing to explain how
we percieve. Gibson is saying, there is no mechanism, it's just the way
we are because we have been formed by our environment: look to the
environment for an explanation, not into our brains.

Of course, the weekness of Gibson's view is that you stll have to
explain how you 'look to the environment'.

I don't know if Gibson was familier with Heidegger or Wittgenstein which
might have helped him push the argument further, but his views are
predicated on the theory of evolution which provides pretty powerful
grounds for his argument.

I hope this helps. It does, at least help me explain to me why you and
Gibson could not agree.

Best wishes,

David


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