Sensory information is encoded both in space and in time. Spatial encoding is based on the identity of activated receptors, while temporal encoding is based on the timing of activation. In order to generate accurate internal representations of the external world, the brain must decode both types of encoded information, even when processing stationary stimuli. We review here evidence in support of a parallel processing scheme for spatially and temporally encoded information in the tactile system and discuss the advantages and limitations of sensory-derived temporal coding in both the tactile and visual systems. Based on a large body of data, we propose a dynamic theory for vision, which avoids the impediments of previous dynamic theories.