Monday, February 14, 2011

Gibson: Surfaces are on the Outside; The Affordances is on the Insider

On any number of occasions, I've pointed out that what structures light are surfaces, which are on the outside of objects, but that affordances are constituted (not by the composition and layout of surfaces, but) by what's inside an object.  Gibson agrees, at least sometimes.  As Genny notes, one could see this in Chapter 2, where Gibson describes his "ecological laws of surfaces":
2. Any surface has resistance to deformation, depending on the viscosity of the substance.
3. Any surface has resistance to disintegration, depending on the cohesion of the substances. (Gibson, 1979, p. 24).


  1. It sounds like he's laying out why a surface might be informative about it's composition.

  2. He is indeed. But, that's different than claiming the (composition and layout) of the surface constitutes an affordance.

    I think Gibson is typically wrong here too, but the argument for that is for later.