Motor theories of perception posit that motor information is necessary for successful recognition of actions. Perhaps the most well known of this class of proposals is the motor theory of speech perception, which argues that speech recognition is fundamentally a process of identifying the articulatory gestures (i.e. motor representations) that were used to produce the speech signal. Here we review neuropsychological evidence from patients with damage to the motor system, in the context of motor theories of perception applied to both manual actions and speech. Motor theories of perception predict that patients with motor impairments will have impairments for action recognition. Contrary to that prediction, the available neuropsychological evidence indicates that recognition can be spared despite profound impairments to production. These data falsify strong forms of the motor theory of perception, and frame new questions about the dynamical interactions that govern how information is exchanged between input and output systems.