Alva Noë

Research Expertise and Interest

cognitive science, phenomenology, consciousness, philosophy, theory of perception, theory of art, Wittgenstein, analytic philosophy origins

Research Description

Alva Noë is a philosopher of mind whose research and teaching focus is perception and consciousness, and the philosophy of art. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT, 2004); Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009); Varieties of Presence (Harvard, 2012); Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2015), Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark (Oxford, 2019) and, most recently, Learning to Look: Dispatches from the Art World (Oxford 2021).


Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
March 28, 2019
Kieran Setiya
Celebrating Major League Baseball Opening Day 2019, philosophy professor Alva Noë, author of the new book Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark, talks about his lifelong fascination with the game, ambling around facets like the "forensic" nature of the sport and "its preoccupation with questions of agency, credit, blame, liability, and the like." The interview begins with recollections of his childhood exposure: "I grew up in Greenwich Village. My parents were 'alternative,' you could say. They were artists and most of the people in our lives were artists -- potters, painters, musicians, etc. This wasn't a sports or fan culture, and professional baseball, professional sports in general, was something sort of beyond the horizon; it showed up mostly by way of transistor radio as a kind of window onto the straight world. My dad was also an immigrant, a Holocaust survivor who'd arrived from Eastern Europe at the war's end. So I think at least part of baseball's appeal for me, and for my brother, must have been that it was so very normal, so much a part of a larger culture that felt both strange but also comforting. Safety and comfort were a factor for me -- as a child, I would listen to games at night under the covers. I associate that with security and pleasure. At the same time, I guess I've also felt that I needed somehow to serve a bit as an ambassador from baseball, or maybe from the wider culture, to my family. Why do I love baseball? What is it I love? How can I make sense of this to people for whom baseball is, well, unimportant? In a way, that's what this book is about."
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