Perception, action, and experience: unravelling the golden braid*

Andy Clark

in Perception, Action, and Consciousness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199551118
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594960 | DOI:
Perception, action, and experience: unravelling the golden braid*

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Much of our human mental life looks to involve a seamless unfolding of perception, action, and experience: a golden braid in which each element twines intimately with the rest. We see the very world we act in and we act in the world we see. But more than this, visual experience presents us with the world in a way apt for the control and fine guidance of action. Or so it seems. Milner and Goodale's influential work on the dual visual systems hypothesis casts doubt on certain versions of this intuitive vision. It does so by prising apart the twining strands of conscious visual perception and the fine control of visuomotor action. This chapter first clarifies the major claims that the bold proposal involves. It then examines three sets of worries and objections. The first set concerns some important matters of detail. The second set concerns a certain kind of conceptual or philosophical worry to the effect that the perception/action model equates visual experience itself unfairly with what are in fact certain elements within visual experience. The third set concerns the very idea of conscious experience as a well-defined conceptual or experimental target.

Keywords: perception; conscious visual perception; visuomotor action; conscious experience; Milner and Goodale; dual visual systems; perception/action model

Chapter.  12040 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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