Alva Noë

Alva Noë appears in the following:

Since When Is An Emoji A 'Word'?

Friday, December 18, 2015

I love my battered old copy of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. I've rarely needed to look up a word that I can't find in there.

Take, for example, the word "word." Its primary definition, according to the Concise Oxford, is:

"Any sound or combination of sounds ...


Is It Bad If Art Is Boring?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Do you remember being bored as a kid? I do.

I remember long stretches of unstructured time with nothing to do. Time reduced to a kind of metronome, second after second, or sensation after sensation. I remember being confronted by the irritating sense that I was trapped, caught, in unending ...


Is Art Essential to Human Nature?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

In "Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature," philosophy professor Alva Noë examines our persistent, and conflicted, relationship to art.

Comments [1]

Physical Disability And Engineering Of Environments

Sunday, December 06, 2015

On PBS's Newshour last week, Jon Schull, a research scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, made some points about disability.

He said that in a world with lots of small print, the inability to see fine detail is a disability (though some might consider it minor in the ...


Is Immediate Access To Information Always Good?

Friday, November 20, 2015

My plane touched down in Chicago some time after 5 p.m. local time last Friday. I had almost two hours to spare before making my connection. But the plane was late and others on board were anxious.

The couple behind me had less than an hour to catch a flight ...


You Are Not Just Your Brain

Friday, November 13, 2015

For some time now, I've been skeptical about the neuroscience of consciousness. Not so much because I doubt that consciousness is affected by neural states and processes, but because of the persistent tendency on the part of some neuroscientists to think of consciousness itself as a neural phenomenon.

Nothing epitomizes ...


In Impossible Times Come Impossible Decisions

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Struma was sunk by a Soviet torpedo in February 1942 as it sought to carry its cargo of Romanian Jews to safe harbor in what was then called Palestine by way of the Black Sea.

This terrible event isn't very well remembered today, but it marked the lives ...


There's A Unity Among Baseball Fans

Sunday, November 01, 2015

If you watch the World Series tonight, you'll notice that if Matt Harvey, the Mets pitcher, reaches a two strike count against one of the Royals batters, the whole stadium — as if with a single mind — will rise to its feet and roar with excitement and encouragement.

Their ...


Soup Is An Anagram Of Opus: Thoughts On Warhol's Campbell's Paintings

Friday, October 23, 2015

I had a chance to see the Andy Warhol exhibition that just closed at New York's MOMA this past weekend. The high point of the show, indeed — one of art's high points — is Warhol's series of Campbell's soup cans. They were painted and first shown in Los Angeles ...


Research Methods And Bias In Science

Friday, October 16, 2015

I've always been a little skeptical about the scientific method.

Science isn't one thing, after all. Just as sports isn't one thing. There isn't one way to win, or one way to get the gold. And, so, there isn't one way to conduct research in fields as different as chemistry, ...


Why The Matt Harvey Uncertainty Broke Some Baseball Fans' Hearts

Saturday, October 10, 2015

When baseball fans think back on memorable events from the season that just ended, there's no doubt that the Matt Harvey Affair is one of the things they'll remember.

Matt Harvey is a star pitcher for the New York Mets. He's in his first season back from Tommy John ...


Clean Diesel: Too Good To Be True?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Diesels are more expensive than gasoline powered cars. But they drive better; they've got better torque. And they're way more fuel efficient.

The downside is that they're dirty. They spew deadly particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that make it hard to breathe.

In Europe, diesels have been an economical ...


Language Correction Leads To Universal Words

Friday, September 18, 2015

The demands of communication put constraints on how everyone talks, regardless of what language they are using.

These pragmatic linguistic universals are the subject of a new study published this week.

Imagine a race of beings who use language just like we do, but who never misunderstand each other; ...


Making A Case For The Minds Of Animals

Friday, September 11, 2015

Carl Safina, in his new book on animal minds — Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel makes a strong case for the claim that animals, such as wolves, elephants — and maybe also crayfish — have rich mental lives.

The tendency to talk about "humans and ...


Can We Shrink Our Blind Spots?

Friday, September 04, 2015

The science press was atwitter with excitement about the blind spot this week.

Reports hailed good news out of the laboratory of Paul Miller, of the University of Queensland in Australia, showing that with exercise alone it is possible to shrink the naturally occurring blind spot in each ...


Oliver Sacks: An Appreciation

Monday, August 31, 2015

The words below were written in celebration of Oliver Sacks's 80th birthday in 2013. The renowned neurologist died Sunday.

A comment I heard more than once at a recent event in New York to celebrate the life of Oliver Sacks, who turns 80 this year, is that ...


Is Having A Kid So Terrible?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The headline of a Washington Post article from Aug. 11 reads: "It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner."

It's a grabby headline, if ever there was one. The study in question, conducted by Rachel Margolis of the University of Western ...


Finding The True Philosophical Discussion In 'Irrational Man'

Friday, August 14, 2015

Woody Allen's lovely new movie, Irrational Man, tells the story of an alcoholic philosophy professor, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who arrives one summer to take up a teaching gig at an idyllic, elite liberal arts college.

I'm not sure what is more far-fetched, the proposition that the entire campus is ...


A New Way To Look At Emotions

Friday, August 07, 2015

When I was a kid, I noticed that sometimes fear and anticipation felt the same way.

I'd get butterflies, a kind of queasiness in the stomach. To figure out what I was feeling, I came to realize, what was needed was not introspection, but attention to the context.

According to ...


A Social Media Rumor That Nearly Broke Some Hearts

Friday, July 31, 2015

No need to be a baseball fan to get caught up in the drama that unfolded before our eyes during the television broadcast of the Mets-Padres game at Citi Field in New York on Wednesday evening.

It wasn't a baseball drama, but a life drama that puts all of ...