People perceive in order to move and move in order to perceive. What, then, is movement but a form of perception, a way of knowing the world as well as acting on it?
-- Thelen, 1995, p. 89
Surely a primary fact about human consciousness is that each of us is bodily present in an environment with which we are constantly in reciprocal interaction. The primary form of experienced cognition is thus a perceptually guided action in a natural environment (e.g., Thompson, Palacios, & Varela, 1992). In this chapter, I discuss the structure of conscious states that are primarily perceptual and enactive, rather than symbolic, in character. These states exhibit the structure that supports cospecification and other properties of conscious states generally, allowing us to see how more complex, symbolic forms of experienced cognition are grounded in perceptual-enactive experience. Understanding this structure also requires that we address some fundamental issues about the description of the mental states that make up our experience. A starting point is a long-standing debate concerning the relation between perceptual experience and the information that supports it.
When James Gibson wrote his classic books ( 1966, 1979), presenting his ecological theory of perception, the standard theory of perception with which he contrasted his approach was derived from a long philosophical