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Publisher's Summary

In Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature, philosopher and cognitive scientist Alva Noë raises a number of profound questions: What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature?

Drawing on philosophy, art history, and cognitive science, and making provocative use of examples from all three of these fields, Noë offers new answers to such questions. He also shows why recent efforts to frame questions about art in terms of neuroscience and evolutionary biology alone have been and will continue to be unsuccessful.

©2015 Alva Noë (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A searching and learned response to vexing, long-debated questions." (Kirkus)

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  • Ben
  • 08-13-17

This is the thoughtful and inspiring explanation of art I've yet read

I've in the past tried to describe art, my art, to friends as ineffable, as it's own shortest description; as a technique, like satori perhaps, to provoke the mind to experience the world anew.

Art here is described as a critic of organisation and an encounter with the edges of ourselves and the way we're organised. Like a conjurer with a trick that takes us beyond what we understand of the world. However, once understood as it must be, Art, ages, and in it's varied forms will serve, at best, aesthetics, to provoke feeling, or to trace its own history, to entrench organisation without challenge, as illustrations remind or instruct us of what we know or might wish to know, didactically. Art's true function is not this, it is to expose rather than to instruct and this is satori, it is brief exhilarating moment and requires reorganisation, it is synthesis.

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