Synthese 198 (1):349-371 (2018)

In cognitive science, long-term anticipation, such as when planning to do something next year, is typically seen as a form of ‘higher’ cognition, requiring a different account than the more basic activities that can be understood in terms of responsiveness to ‘affordances,’ i.e. to possibilities for action. Starting from architects that anticipate the possibility to make an architectural installation over the course of many months, in this paper we develop a process-based account of affordances that includes long-term anticipation within its scope. We present a framework in which situations and their affordances unfold, and can be thought of as continuing a history of practices into a current situational activity. In this activity affordances invite skilled participants to act further. Via these invitations one situation develops into the other; an unfolding process that sets up the conditions for its own continuation. Central to our process account of affordances is the idea that engaged individuals can be responsive to the direction of the process to which their actions contribute. Anticipation, at any temporal scale, is then part and parcel of keeping attuned to the movement of the unfolding situations to which an individual contributes. We concretize our account by returning to the example of anticipation observed in architectural practice. This account of anticipation opens the door to considering a wide array of human activities traditionally characterized as ‘higher’ cognition in terms of engaging with affordances.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-02013-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,079
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Meaningful Affordances.Roy Dings - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1855-1875.
Reflective Situated Normativity.Jasper C. van den Herik & Erik Rietveld - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3371-3389.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Situated imagination.Ludger van Dijk & Erik Rietveld - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.
Function, Anticipation, Representation.Mark H. Bickhard - 2001 - AIP Conference Proceedings 573:459-469.
Are Affordances Normative?Manuel Pinedo & Manuel Heras-Escribano - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (4):565-589.
Are Affordances Normative?Manuel Heras-Escribano & Manuel de Pinedo - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (4):565-589.
Affordances, Context and Sociality.Anna M. Borghi - 2018 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12485-12515.
McDowell and Dreyfus on Unreflective Action.Erik Rietveld - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):183-207.


Added to PP index

Total views
4 ( #1,277,804 of 2,506,032 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,032 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes