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Egocentric Spatial Representation in Action and Perception*


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    An early version of this paper was presented at the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science in January 2006. Comments from Ruth Millikan and Alva Noë, who also participated at the event, were very helpful. I am also indebted to Joe Berendzen, Juliet Floyd, Aaron Garrett, Larry Hardesty, Axel Roesler, and John Schwenkler for instructive discussions and to an anonymous referee for detailed comments that resulted in significant improvements.


Neuropsychological findings used to motivate the “two visual systems” hypothesis have been taken to endanger a pair of widely accepted claims about spatial representation in conscious visual experience. The first is the claim that visual experience represents 3-D space around the perceiver using an egocentric frame of reference. The second is the claim that there is a constitutive link between the spatial contents of visual experience and the perceiver’s bodily actions. In this paper, I review and assess three main sources of evidence for the two visual systems hypothesis. I argue that the best interpretation of the evidence is in fact consistent with both claims. I conclude with some brief remarks on the relation between visual consciousness and rational agency.

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