I would think that's the intended use but I want to be sure.
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The total defense action says
This is in lieu of taking a different standard action, like a standard attack. You can instead fight defensively while taking either the standard attack action or the full attack action.
...But Exceptions Exist
The volume of stuff available to Pathfinder characters means that if you want to do something, you probably can, although maybe not to the degree you'd prefer. For example, the feat Desperate Swing 1/day permits a halfling who's taking the total defense action to make an attack; the halfling suffers a -4 penalty on the attack roll.