Jean-Pierre Changeux

L'Homme de vérité (coll. poches) Publication date : February 1, 2004

To understand how we acquire knowledge, we must first understand the neurological processes that are govern consciousness. What seems true to one person may not seem so to another, even if both are fully aware. When you tell a lie, you know what you are doing — but the person who receives your message does not necessarily recognise it as an untruth.
What can be the relation between events or objects in the external world and objects of thought, inner states produced by our brains? What makes this understanding possible? How does it come about? How is it put to the test? How does it evolve? How can we authenticate the equivalence between our knowledge and the reality of the world, except by communicating with language and by submitting it to critical discussion? Could this be the origin of a specialised activity that our societies have developed in their quest for truth — i.e. science?

These are some of the major issues that Jean-Pierre Changeux examines from a new angle, in the light of recent scientific research on the brain.

Jean-Pierre Changeux teaches at the Collège de France and at the Institut Pasteur. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and the author of L’Homme neuronal, Raison et plaisir, Matière à pensée (with Alain Connes) and Ce qui nous fait penser (with Paul Ricœur).