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Perception and Action: Alternative Views

Susan Hurley
Synthese
Vol. 129, No. 1, Perception, Action and Consciousness (Oct., 2001), pp. 3-40
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117165
Page Count: 38
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Perception and Action: Alternative Views
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Abstract

A traditional view of perception and action makes two assumptions: that the causal flow between perception and action is primarily linear or one-way, and that they are merely instrumentally related to each other, so that each is a means to the other. Either or both of these assumptions can be rejected. Behaviorism rejects the instrumental but not the one-way aspect of the traditional view, thus leaving itself open to charges of verificationism. Ecological views reject the one-way aspect but not the instrumental aspect of the traditional view, so that perception and action are seen as instrumentally interdependent. It is argued here that a better alternative is to reject both assumptions, resulting in a two-level interdependence view in which perception and action co-depend on dynamically circular subpersonal relations and as a result may be more than merely instrumentally interdependent. This is illustrated by reference to motor theories of perception and control theories of action.

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