Affective affordances and psychopathology

Discipline Filosofiche 2 (18):221-247 (2018)
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Self-disorders in depression and schizophrenia have been the focus of much recent work in phenomenological psychopathology. But little has been said about the role the material environment plays in shaping the affective character of these disorders. In this paper, we argue that enjoying reliable (i.e., trustworthy) access to the things and spaces around us — the constituents of our material environment — is crucial for our ability to stabilize and regulate our affective life on a day-today basis. These things and spaces often play an ineliminable role in shaping what we feel and how we feel it; when we interact with them, they contribute ongoing feedback that " scaffolds " the character and temporal development of our affective experiences. However, in some psychopathological conditions, the ability to access to these things and spaces becomes disturbed. Individuals not only lose certain forms of access to the practical significance of the built environment but also to its ​ regulative​ significance, too — and the stability and organization of their affective life is compromised. In developing this view, we discuss core concepts like " affordance spaces " , " scaffolding " , and " incorporation ". We apply these concepts to two case studies, severe depression and schizophrenia, and we show why these cases support our main claim. We conclude by briefly considering implications of this view for developing intervention and treatment strategies.



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Author Profiles

Joel Krueger
University of Exeter
Giovanna Colombetti
University of Exeter

References found in this work

Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind.Shaun Gallagher - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

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