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Ecological foundations of cognition. I: Symmetry and specificity of animal-environment systems

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Ontological and methodological constraints on a theory of cognition that would generalize across species are identified. Within these constraints, ecological arguments for (a) animal-environment mutuality and reciprocity and (b) the necessary specificity of structured energy distributions to environmental facts are developed as counterpoints to the classical doctrines of animal-environment dualism and intractable nonspecificity. Implications of (a) and (b) for a cognitive theory consistent with Gibson's programme of ecological psychology are identified and contrasted with contemporary cognitivism.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, University of Connecticut, Stoors, CT 06269-1020, USA. 2: Email:

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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