Still searching for the pineal gland? Reading the Ricoeur-Changeux debate in terms of Meillassoux’s critique of correlationism

  • Jaco Kruger North-West University, Potchefstroom
Keywords: Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Quentin Meillassoux, correlationism, mind-brain relation


The spectacular advance in neurobiology and neuroscience in general ensures that the question of the relation between the brain and the mind remains actual. The dialogue between philosopher Paul Ricoeur and neuro-biologist Jean-Pierre Changeux that took place around 1998 remains an important contribution in this regard, primarily due to the interdisciplinary character of the conversation. This article attempts an interpretation of both Ricoeur’s and Changeux’s positions in their dialogue using the interpretive lens provided by Quentin Meillassoux’s notion of correlationism. It is argued that such an interpretation highlights the similarities between Ricoeur’s and Changeux’s positions that might not otherwise be apparent, and also calls for a broadening of the terms of reference of the dialogue beyond those accepted by both Ricoeur and Changeux. The article subsequently investigates what a broadening of the terms of reference of the approach to the mind-brain problem might entail in terms of Meillassoux’s anti-correlationism, but rejects this approach in favour of what might be called hyper-correlationism.
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