Jean-Pierre Changeux

France, 1936

Jean-Pierre Changeux is one of the most prominent neurobiologists in the world. He has been Professor at the Institut Pasteur since 1975, where he is director of the Unit of Molecular Neurobiology. Through empirical scientific investigation, he pinpointed certain predispositions within our brain towards a moral life and towards altruism, and so developed the proposition that ethical behavior in humans is a natural and biological given. He published Raison et plaisir (1994) and Du vrai, du beau, du bien: Une nouvelle approche neuronal (2008). His legendary debate with Paul Ricoeur on ‘nature and ethics’, in which Changeux shows himself to be a true positivist, was published as What Makes Us Think? A Neuroscientist and a Philosopher Argue About Ethics, Human Nature, and the Brain (1998, English translation 2002).