Interestingly enough, here there is no appeal to the usual argument for the ambiguity of perception. Here we find the uncritical retention of another aspect of the Cartesian scheme, the notion of a mind lurking within the body, in direct contact only with the body and not with the environment itself. This notion, as Reed has recently argued, derives from the Cartesian hypothesis of corporeal ideas (Reed, 1982). Gibson's own criticisms of this assumption-for example, in his discussion of the visual control of manipulation-echo the important arguments Skinner has voiced over many years concerning the persuasive myth of the "inner man" (e.g., Skinner, 1938, chapter I):
The movements of the hands do not consist of responses to stimuli .... Is the only alternative to think of the hands as instruments of the mind? Piaget, for example, sometimes seems to imply that the hands are tools of a child's intelligence. But this is like saying that the hand is a tool of an inner child in more or less the same way that an object is a tool for a child with hands. This is surely an error. The alternative is not a return to mentalism. We should think of the hands as neither triggered nor commanded but controlled. (Gibson, 1979, p. 235)
(Costall, 1984, p. 114).Homunculi and "Cartesianism", I've found, are a big concern of EPists. I guess I have imbided enough cognitivism to think that it doesn't lead to homunculi. It seems to me that computers do image processing without homunculi, so why not humans? Indeed, if cognitive processing is a species of computation, then why humans not do image processing without homunculi?
Or, put the matter another way. I think a cognitivist could be perfectly happy with Gibson's idea that we should think of the hands as neither triggered nor commanded but controlled. They are controlled by cognitive processes within the brain.
Costall, A. (1984). Are theories of perception necessary? A review of Gibson's The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior, 41(1), 109.