Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness

Why do we place consciousness within the confines of the brain? This idea-that “you are your brain” is a notion that has long dominated the study of consciousness, and is based on faulty philosophical principles and bad science. Consciousness isn’t something that happens in the brain the way digestion happens in the stomach; it is something we do or make, more like dancing than it is digestive processes.

Speaker Details

Alva Noe is a writer and philosopher at UC Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. For the last decade or so his philosophical practice has concerned perception and consciousness, and his current research focus is art and human nature. He received a Ph.D in philosophy from Harvard a BA from Columbia and a BPhil from Oxford University. He is a research associate of the CNRS laboratory Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris and was, in 2003, a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. For the 1995-96 year Noe was a research fellow of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

Alva Noe
Institute for Cognitive Brain Science, UC Berkeley