Baseball is a strange sport: it consists of long periods in which little seems to be happening, punctuated by high-energy outbursts of rapid-fire activity. Despite efforts from Major League Baseball to shorten games and make the sport more appealing to today’s shorter attention spans, writer and philosopher Alva Noë contends that baseball is always intellectually fascinating and compelling for the “true fan.” Noë takes Town Hall’s stage to explore ideas outlined in his book Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark—namely, the many unexpected ways which baseball is truly a philosophical game.
Noë suggests that baseball’s superficially slow pace is an opportunity to participate in the distinctive thinking practice that defines the game; if baseball is boring, it’s boring the way philosophy is boring—not because there isn’t a lot going on, but because the challenge baseball poses is making sense of it all. Noë invites us to ponder this curious game: the activity of keeping score, the perspectives that define who is responsible for the game’s events, the opportunities for fans to tell the story of the game and actively participate in its creation. Join Noë for a new take on America’s pastime—and examine baseball as a window to language, culture, and the nature of human action intertwined with deep and fundamental human truths.
Alva Noë is a writer and philosopher who focuses on the nature of mind and human experience. He is the author of Out of Our Heads and Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature, among other books. He is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the 2018 recipient of the Judd/Hume Prize in Advanced Visual Studies.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.