The One Divide Between Porn and Art that Can Never Be Overcome

Can pornography be art? No, argues Alva Noë, because porn is an instrument with a certain function in mind (sexual arousal) and works of art are not instruments.

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Can pornography be art? No, argues Alva Noë, because porn is an instrument with a certain function in mind (sexual arousal) and works of art are not instruments. They are not tools. They have no function. Instead, they subvert functions. They disrupt them.

Pornography never defies expectations. If it does, it doesn’t perform its function. That's why, according to Noë, it can't be classified as art.

Philosopher Alva Noë's latest book is titled Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature.

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Don't Fret, You Are More Adaptable Than You Think

There is nothing qualitatively different about the way the internet is changing our human experience now than the way the invention of writing did some thousands of years ago. 

Consider the fact that a few thousand years ago most human beings couldn’t digest milk and then the domestication of animals happened and milk became available. 

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We Extended Beings Need to Break Free from 17th Century Thinking

Alva Noë: Too many cognitive scientists tend to take a 17th century conception of the person as an individual island trapped inside his or her head and we need to break free of that. 

Think of the way the modern company is organized where there is an in-house social networking medium that people use to exchange ideas and keep on task and allow people in different offices or in different places or in different time zones to work on common problems together fluently. 

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Toward a Neuroscience of Consciousness

Alva Noë: I'm very optimistic that we can make breakthroughs precisely by trying to take steps in the direction of a more integrated, contextualized neuroscience of consciousness.  

I think that this is a very exciting time to be studying human nature.  Often people say it’s exciting because of the tremendous breakthroughs we’re making in understanding the brain and the new technologies we have for finally being able to look at the brain such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, but I disagree with that, that it’s the new breakthroughs in our study of the brain that are making this an interesting time.

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