See Me if You Can! Art and the Limits of Neuroscience
New ways of thinking about the nature of visual consciousness allow us to reconsider art and its place in our lives. 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.
The Observer Effects series invites thinkers to present their highly integrative work in dialogue with the fields of art and science. This lecture series takes its title from a popularized principle in physics that holds that the act of observation transforms the observed. Outside the natural sciences, the idea that the observer and the observed are linked in a web of reciprocal modification has been deeply influential in philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, and politics.
Alva Noë is a writer and a philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He works on the nature of mind and human experience. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004); Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009); and most recently, Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012). Noë received his PhD from Harvard in 1995 and is a 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 previously was a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company, a dance company based in Germany. Noë is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and is a weekly contributor to National Public Radio's science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.