Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

Email us at

Visit our website for more information 


Don't miss our other series podcasts:


Dec 23, 2023

What exactly is art and why does it matter to us?

Philosopher of the mind Alva Noë explores the answers to these questions, arguing that we need art and philosophy to fully understand human nature. After all, our modern way of life is permeated with the aesthetic––the arts are an integral part of every human culture on the planet.

Our lives supply art with its raw materials, but art, Noë argues, remakes life by giving us resources to live differently. Because of this, Noë believes that art is the truest way of understanding ourselves. He suggests that neither biology, cognitive science, nor artificial intelligence can tell a complete story of us. In making these claims, Noë explores examples from his latest book, The Entanglement—in artworks and seeing, writing and speech, and choreography and dancing—and looks at a range of scientific efforts to explain what it means to be human.

Through his work, Noë believes that natural science has its limits in fully understanding the human experience. He lays out the argument that art and philosophy play essential roles in trying to know ourselves. Challenging the idea that art is simply a cultural curiosity and that philosophy has been replaced with science, Noë suggests a new way of thinking about human nature.

Alva Noë is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a member of the Center for New Media, the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and the Program in Critical Theory. His many books include Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature and Learning to Look: Dispatches from the Art World.