Alva Noë is a writer and philosopher at UC Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. For the last decade or so his philosophical practice has concerned perception and consciousness. His current research focus is art and human nature.
Alva is the author of Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons From The Biology of Consciiousness (Hill and Wang / Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009) and Action in Perception (The MIT Press, 2004). The central idea of these books is that consciousness is not something that happens inside us -- not in our brains, or anywhere else; it is something we do.
Before coming to Berkeley in 2003, Alva taught in the department of philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. He received a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1995; he has a BA from Columbia (1986) and a BPhil from Oxford Universiy (1986). He has been a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2007-2008). He is a research associate of the CNRS laboratory Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris. In the spring of 2003 he was a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and in the 1995-1996 academic year he was a research fellow of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.
Alva is from New York City; he lives in Berkeley, California with the artist Miriam Dym and their two children August and Ulysses.