"Alva Noë is rethinking the way we think about thought. Specifically: that consciousness doesn't arise from tissue encased inside our skulls, the standard view of science, but from living in the context of the wider world. Consciousness for Noë is an ecology of mind, body and spirit. One of the Berkeley philosopher-cognitive scientist's several surprising observations concerns the much trumpeted brain-scan technology, which he says doesn't actually reveal the interior of the brain in the manner of an X-ray but represents it more like a mediocre artist's rendering. Out of Our Heads accomplishes one of the chief tasks of philosophy: to challenge the unquestioned assumptions that govern our notions of reality."—David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express (Milwaukee)
Alva Noë is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences. His previous book, Action in Perception, was published in 2004.
1 AN ASTONISHING HYPOTHESIS
The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
Contemporary research on consciousness in neuroscience rests on unquestioned but highly questionable foundations. Human nature is no less mysterious now than it was a hundred years ago. If we are to understand our human nature, we need to make a fresh start. In this first chapter I lay out the basic challenge.