Repository | Book | Chapter


(2013) The phenomenology of embodied subjectivity, Dordrecht, Springer.

Affordances and unreflective freedom

Erik Rietveld

pp. 21-42

This chapter investigates the phenomenon of freedom in unreflective decision making and action from the perspective of the philosophy of embodied cognition. Phenomenological analysis suggests that in skillful unreflective decision and action we allow ourselves to be responsive to relevant affordances. Even though we respond to affordances with instinctive ease, we do not experience these actions as fully automatic, or beyond our control. I propose that if we want to understand the phenomenon of freedom in episodes of unreflective affordance-responsiveness, we should investigate it on its own terms and do justice to its specific phenomenology. I critically assess ideas on this type of freedom by Dreyfus and Kelly and show that their accounts still presuppose the possibility to reflect, which makes them inapt as accounts of the unreflective freedom in affordance responsiveness that adults share with children who do not yet have the capacity to reflect. I suggest that being bound by relevant affordances does not contradict freedom and sketch the outline of an alternative account of freedom in unreflective action.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-01616-0_2

Full citation:

Rietveld, E. (2013)., Affordances and unreflective freedom, in D. Moran (ed.), The phenomenology of embodied subjectivity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 21-42.

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