“The projects of philosophy and of art-making cross over in this remarkable book. Read it, and
whatever you thought about both will be radically challenged.”

Alexander Nagel, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

“Stimulating and wide-ranging . . . A searching and learned response to vexing, long-debated

Kirkus Reviews

“As a neurologist, confronted every day by questions of mind, self, consciousness, and their basis, I find Alva Noë’s concepts both astounding and convincing.”

—Oliver Sacks

“Noë offers a unique analysis on the role of art, and also philosophy, in our lives . . . An accessible and engaging read.”

Scott Duimstra, Library Journal

“As Alva Noë gracefully dispatches one reductionist account after another (the neurological, the sociobiological, the evolutionary, and so forth), his subject—the very nature and provenance of art—just keeps expanding outward. And every page seems to open onto fresh vantages, crisp aperçus evocative of how art endlessly affords us all new ways not just of seeing, but of being.”

Lawrence Weschler, author, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees

“Alva Noë’s Strange Tools challenges some of our preconceptions not only about art and human nature, but also about philosophy and science. The book shows how bad ideas about each of these subjects support bad ideas about others. It is passionately argued, and readers will want to argue back at various points; that is true too of the best philosophy and the best writing about art.”

Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Harvard University

“In his new book, Alva Noë spiritedly suggests that, at their best, art and philosophy are practices of inquiry into the human condition. He defends, convincingly, the idea that the value of those practices derives from the questions they pose and the pleasure we experience when we glean a workable, reorganizing answer. Along the way he argues, advisedly, against reductive accounts of aesthetics. A stimulating read.”

Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and director of the USC College Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California

“An illuminating account of the role of art in the human conversation. This is a work in the grand tradition of John Dewey’s Art as Experience, and one of the most important books in that tradition since Dewey’s own.”

Paul Guyer, Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Brown University

“Inspiring as well as useful.”

Deborah Hay, director of the Deborah Hay Dance Company

“Many have told us, passionately, that art shapes human nature in ways science alone cannot explain, but Alva Noë doesn’t just tell; he shows how many insights flow from an open-minded understanding of both art and science combined. He walks the tightrope between reductionism and mysterianism with panache, and part of the fun of reading this book is watching him recover from his narrow escapes, almost abandoning naturalism in favor of a romanticized vision of science as poetry, and almost giving some ideologues more respect than they deserve.”

Daniel Dennett, author of Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking