James J. GibsonJames J. Gibson was a psychologist who changed previous theories of visual perception, claiming that objects in the physical environment are not simply seen as having value-neutral physical properties, but rather properties with definite values to the agent perceiving them. He called these "affordances."
The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill. The verb to afford is found in the dictionary, the noun affordance is not. I have made it up. I mean by it something that refers to both the environment and the animal in a way that no existing term does. It implies the complementarity of the animal and the environment.Gibson thought of an affordance as providing a niche the way ecological niches affect how an animal lives in its environment. Humans and a few animals alter and modify their environment so as to change its affordances to better suit them. But the value of an affordance is not an intrinsic property of the physical object. The value is something created in the mind of the human or animal that depends on the values of past similar experiences (ERR). Biologists and ecologists can observe and recognize the many values of different physical situations by studying the behavior of different species in their niche environments. They will be intersubjective values specific to each species. But a foundational objective value underlying all these species-specific values is the information richness of the environment, its negative entropy (ERGO) which marks the availability of free energy sources such as food supplies. Normal | Teacher | Scholar