What Scientists and Philosophers Get Wrong About Art

- Big Think

Artists are a category of creator apart. They do not make tools useful in the sense that a hammer is useful; nor are their works subject to scientific investigation— insofar as science, and philosophy, strictly distinguish between the observer and that which is observed. Alva Noë says that to create art is to create a "strange tool"—one that actively collaborates with us as we create and examine it. Art unveils who we are as people alive at this moment in history, not merely as objective observers standing outside time.

Can Neuroscience Help Us Understand Art?

- NYU Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness

Can understanding the brain reshape our conceptions of the arts? Is there a viable field of neuroaesthetics? Gabrielle Starr (author of Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience) thinks so. Alva Noë (author of Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature) thinks not. They debate this issue.

The One Divide Between Porn and Art that Can Never Be Overcome

- Big Think

Can pornography be art? No, argues Alva Noë, because porn is an instrument with a certain function in mind (sexual arousal) and works of art are not instruments. They are not tools. They have no function. Instead, they subvert functions.

The Puzzle of Perception

- Big Think

We are conscious of both more and less than affects our nervous system says philosopher Alva Noë.

See Me if You Can! Art and the Limits of Neuroscience

- The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

In this lecture, Alva Noë, a leading figure in cognitive science, will argue that art is philosophical and philosophy is aesthetic. Against this background, new possibilities are presented for understanding what it is to be a person, questioning if our experience of the world stems from the firing of neurons in our brains or from our interactions with our surroundings.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn Interviews Alva Noë

- Closer to Truth

Closer To Truth gives you access to the world’s greatest thinkers exploring humanity’s deepest questions.

Watch Alva’s videos ⇾

The View of Consciousness in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind

- Science and Nonduality

An excerpt from an interview with Alva Noë at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2013 featured in the 3 DVD set "Science and Nonduality Anthology Volume 4." In this clip, Alva discusses the view of consciousness in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind.

Alva Noë at the Venice 2013 Symposium

- Association of Neuroesthetics

Embodied cognition, body perception and intersubjectivity: An interdisciplinary dialogue addressing Tino Sehgal’s work

Getting Out of Our Heads

- Science and Nonduality 

A clip from Alva Noë talk at the 2012 conference in California.

Watch the complete talk ⇾


We've Been Looking for Consciousness in Wrong Place

- ForaTv

Alva Noë disputes that science has an understanding of the brain. He further argues that our perspective that consciousness resides in the brain may be flawed.

How Do We Perceive Color?

- Big Think

"This is a wonderful area where both science and philosophy have tended to really collaborate, have been in dialogue with each other. In many cases the leading philosophers have also been the leading scientists thinking about this," says the philosopher Alva Noë.

Dance As A Way Of Knowing: Interview With Alva Noë

- dance-tech.TV

He explains his line of inquiry on perception and action and why dance (and human movement) is relevant for the understanding and development of consciousness. He also talks about his experience with the Lisa Nelson's "Tunning Scores" joint workshop and how certain approaches to dance training and composition can collaborate with science and philosophy in generating knowledge from an embodied perspective.

You Are Not Your Brain

- Big Think

The "brain-as-calculating machine" analogy assumes that human thought, personality, memory, and emotion are located somewhere in the gray matter protected by the skull. In other words, you—at least, the waking you who gets out of bed in the morning—are your brain. But you're not, says Alva Noë. Just as love does not live inside the heart, consciousness is not contained in a finite space—it's something that arises, something that occurs: a verb rather than a noun.

William Forsythe & Alva Noe, LIVE from the NYPL

- The New York Public Library and The Daily Beast

World-renowned choreographer William Forsythe and cognitive scientist Alva Noë examine consciousness as a kind of dance. Together they will explore Alva’s assertion that consciousness is not something that happens inside of us, in our brains, or anywhere else. It is something we do, in our active engagement with the world.


Alva Noë visits Google's San Francisco office to discuss his book Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness.