Stare at a painting on the wall. No matter how long you wait, it’s not going to tell you what it’s about. To find meaning in the spattering of paint, you must step back and gaze from many angles. For philosopher Alva Noe, this process of interpreting art is a useful metaphor for a broader understanding of how we grasp the world around us. In his new book, “Varieties of Presence,” Noe explores the many ways we use knowledge and skills to achieve a “presence” for the world in our thoughts and perceptions.
Alva Noe, professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media