Innovative scaffolding: Understanding innovation as the disclosure of hidden affordances.

Eric Arnau Soler, Andreu Ballús Santacana


Much attention has been drawn to the cognitive basis of innovation. While interesting in many ways, this poses the threat of falling back to traditional internalist assumptions with regard to cognition. We oppose the ensuing contrast between internal cognitive processing and external public practices and technologies that such internal cognitive systems might produce and utilize. We argue that innovation is best understood from the gibsonian notion of affordance, and that many innovative practices emerge from the external scaffolding of cognitive processes. The public engageability that allows the disclosure of hidden affordances is not only –not even primarily– a property of cognitive products, but of cognitive processes. We elaborate on this claims by drawing on Dutilh Novaes’ account of formal languages as cognitive technologies and Hutto’s Narrative Practice Hypothesis. This paves the way to sketch some general principles on how to strategically seek for innovation by targeting hidden affordances.

Palabras clave

innovación, affordances, scaffolding, razonamiento

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