Alva Noë: Art and the Limits of Neuroscience


Despite enormous and widespread enthusiasm for the project of using the methods of neuroscience to investigate art and its importance for us, results have been few and far between. In this talk – focusing on a range of cases, but with special attention to the problem of pictorial representation – I propose that there may be principled reasons why neuroscience will fail to make a productive contribution to the study of art.

Dr. Alva Noë is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from Harvard University. He also holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford Universities.
Noë has been a fellow of the Wissensschaftskolleg zu Berlin and he is a permanent fellow of the Humboldt University Research Project on Embodiment and the Picture-Act. Noë is “philosopher in residence” with the Forsythe Company andhe is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004), Out of Our Head: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons From The Biology of Consciousness (FSG / Hill and Wang, 2009), and Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012).