Strange Tools: Art And Human Nature
Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature
A philosopher makes the case for thinking of works of art as tools for investigating ourselves
What is art? Why does it matter to us? What does it tell us about ourselves?
Normally, we look to works of art in order to answer these fundamental questions. But what if the objects themselves are not what matter? In Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature, the philosopher and cognitive scientist Alva Noë argues that our obsession with works of art has gotten in the way of understanding how art works on us.
For Noë, art isn’t a phenomenon in need of an explanation but a mode of research, a method of investigating what makes us human―a strange tool. Art isn’t just something to look at or listen to―it is a challenge, a dare to try to make sense of what it is all about. Art aims not for satisfaction but for confrontation, intervention, and subversion. Through diverse and provocative examples from the history of art-making, Noë reveals the transformative power of artistic production. By staging a dance, choreographers cast light on the way bodily movement organizes us. Painting goes beyond depiction and representation to call into question the role...