1st Edition

Places, Sociality, and Ecological Psychology Essays in Honor of Harry Heft

    224 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a collection of essays honoring Professor Harry Heft, a leading figure in the field of ecological psychology, engaging critically with his work, thought and influence.

    Containing 12 chapters written by leading experts from philosophy and psychology, this text critically examines, questions, and expands on crucial ideas from Heft concerning the nature of cognition, its relationship to the body and the environment (including the social and cultural environment), and the main philosophical assumptions underlying the scientific study of psychological functions. It elaborates on the notion of affordance, and its connection to social, cultural and developmental psychology, as well as on the application of Roger Barker’s eco-behavioral program for current psychology and cognitive science. The book includes an extensive interview with Heft, where he reflects about the history, challenges and future of ecological psychology. Finally, it presents a chapter written by Heft, that offers a systematic response to the critical feedback.

    Given the increasing popularity of ecological psychology and the highly influential work of Harry Heft in related areas such as developmental, social and cultural psychology, and philosophy, this book will appeal to all those interested in the cognitive sciences from a scientific and philosophical perspective. It is also a must read for students of psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science departments.


    1. Reflections on Ecological Psychology: An interview with Harry Heft

    2. The social constitution of ecological psychology in the Netherlands

    3. Contrary imaginations: Radical Empiricism or Pragmatism?

    4. Perception and problem solving

    5. Conceiving the environment from a developmental perspective: Revisiting Roger G. Barker’s comparison of Bobby Bryant and Raymond Birch

    6. Agency in behavior settings: A mindshaping perspective on ecological psychology

    7. Behavior settings, enabling constraints, and the naturalization of social norms

    8. Values, affordances, and agency: Giving Heft to ecological accounts

    9. Young people’s responses to the Earth’s affordances of regeneration

    10. Humanizing Ecological Psychology: Heft’s incorporation of the sociohistorical into perceiving and acting

    11. Understanding the child’s environment

    12. Towards a psychological ecology


    Miguel Segundo-Ortin is Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at University of Murcia, Spain. His research interests include philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophy of action, comparative cognition, embodied cognition and ecological psychology.

    Manuel Heras-Escribano is Juan de la Cierva-Incorporación Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Granada, Spain. His research interests include philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind, and affordances.

    Vicente Raja is Research Fellow at the University of Murcia, Spain, and External Faculty Member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University, Canada. His interests include the analysis of behavior and brain activity, including their relationship, using the different tools provided by dynamic systems theory and complexity science.

    Finally: Harry Heft is getting the recognition he deserves. His careful work has quietly inspired generations of researchers interested in the history and philosophy of psychology, especially pragmatism and the ecological approach. Many of us, myself included, found reading Heft’s 2001 masterpiece Ecological Psychology in Context to be a transformative experience. That work made the ideas of James Gibson and Roger Barker seem less strange and foreign by providing historical precedent in the late work of William James. This book collects brand new essays by some of those who were inspired by Heft’s philosophical and historical analyses, along with a delightful interview with Heft and his response to the collected essays. The interview alone is worth the price of admission and the rest of the collection is a crucial record of the mark Heft has left. Highly recommended. - Prof. Anthony Chemero, University of Cincinnati, USA