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Another Look at the Two Visual Systems Hypothesis: The Argument from Illusion Studies

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The purpose of this paper is to defend what I call the action-oriented coding theory (ACT) of spatially contentful visual experience. Integral to ACT is the view that conscious visual experience and visually guided action make use of a common subject-relative or 'egocentric' frame of reference. Proponents of the influential two visual systems hypothesis (TVSH), however, have maintained on empirical grounds that this view is false (Milner & Goodale, 1995/2006; Clark, 1999; 2001; Campbell, 2002; Jacob & Jeannerod, 2003; Goodale & Milner, 2004). One main source of evidence for TVSH comes from behavioral studies of the comparative effects of size-contrast illusions on visual awareness and visuo- motor action. This paper shows that not only is the evidence from illusion studies inconclusive, there is a better, ACT-friendly interpretation of the evidence that avoids serious theoretical difficulties faced by TVSH.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, 202 Ellis Hall, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, USA., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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