A brain–damaged patient (D.F.) with visual form agnosia is described and discussed. D.F. has a profound inability to recognize objects, places and people, in large part because of her inability to make perceptual discriminations of size, shape or orientation, despite having good visual acuity. Yet she is able to perform skilled actions that depend on that very same size, shape and orientation information that is missing from her perceptual awareness. It is suggested that her intact vision can best be understood within the framework of a dual processing model, according to which there are two cortical processing streams operating on different coding principles, for perception and for action, respectively. These may be expected to have different degrees of dependence on top–down information. One possibility is that D.F.'s lack of explicit awareness of the visual cues that guide her behaviour may result from her having to rely on a processing system which is not knowledge–based in a broad sense. Conversely, it may be that the perceptual system can provide conscious awareness of its products in normal individuals by virtue of the fact that it does interact with a stored base of visual knowledge.