Gibson James Jerome: THE SENSES CONSIDERED AS PERCEPTUAL SYSTEMS (Houghton Mifflin, 1966)
Gibson originated "ecological realism", the view that meaning is located
in the interaction of living things and the environment.
Perceiving is a process of picking up information that is available in the
Perception is a constant process and
consists in detecting the invariants. The function of the brain is to orient
the organs of perception for seeking and extracting information from the
continous energy flow of the environment.
Perception cannot be separated from the environment in which the perceptive
system evolved and from the information which is present in that environment.
There is much more information in the world and less in the head than was
The environment must be viewed as a source of stimulation.
Conscious sensation and perception are two different things and they are often
independent. Perceptual systems are sources of information. Sensations are
sources of conscious qualities. The inflow of information does not always
coincide with the inflow of sensations. Therefore, a study of sensations is
not very useful to a study of perceptions.
Perceptual organs are not passive. They can orient themselves to pick up
information, to "resonate" with the information in the environment. Gibson goes
to a great length to explain the details of their functioning.
Gibson James Jerome: THE ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO PERCEPTION (Houghton Mifflin, 1979)
According to Gibson the correct context for a theory of action is not the
abstract space of objects and their relationships but the real world of
shapes and colors as it is presented by the senses. Perception and action
are not separate processes. Organisms move in the world using all the
information that is available in it.
Information originates from the interaction between the organism and its
An "affordance" measures conjunctions between the characteristics of the
organism and the environment. All the potential uses of an object
constitute the activities it affords (e.g. a pen affords writing).
Such uses are directly perceivable.
Gibson uses vision to explain what awareness is and what it is not.
Body and mind constitute a false dichotomy. Awareness is both physical and
mental. Awareness is a function performed by a living observer, the whole
living being, not just its mind or its body.
Awareness is a biological phenomenon.
Perceiving is keeping in touch with the world.
The observer is not external to the world, and therefore her/his awareness
cannot be a state outside the world (i.e., in a different substance called
Cognition is a biological phenomenon, and it is both mind and body.
Awareness is both mind and body.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi