The construction of sophisticated tools has long distinguished the human species from those still content with sticks and rock — or nothing at all. We are creators of things in our essence, says UC Berkeley philosophy professor Alva Noë. But artists are a category of creator apart. They do not make tools useful in the sense that a hammer is useful; nor are their works subject to scientific investigation — insofar as science, and philosophy, strictly distinguish between the observer and that which is observed. Noë says that to create art is to create a “strange tool” — one that actively collaborates with us as we create and examine it. Art unveils who we are as people alive at this moment in history, not merely as objective observers standing outside time.
Whether it's bacteria or consciousness itself, science and philosophy examine a specific object that stands apart from the observer. Art is more collaborative, says Alva Noë. It changes us as we change it.
Humanity is never fully in control of its creations. This lesson from Mary Shelley has remained relevant for over 200 years.
There are issues with Kinsey's data, but his books revolutionized Americans' thinking about sex and sexuality.
If Einstein couldn’t solve the theory of everything, could anyone? Physicist Michio Kaku explains what it would take.
The hot Big Bang was an energetic, brilliantly luminous event. Today's Universe is alight with stars. But in between, the dark ages ruled.