Proactive epigenesis and ethical innovation: A neuronal hypothesis for the genesis of ethical rules.
During the long period of postnatal development in humans, the cerebral cortex undergoes intense synaptogenesis, which persists into adulthood. The steady interaction with the physical, social, and cultural environment drives an epigenetic selection of neuronal networks to internalize, in particular, the common cultural and ethical rules of the society to which the child and her/his family belong. Based on this knowledge, we propose the idea of proactive epigenesis to develop new ethical rules and educational approaches to influence, and constructively interact with the developing neuronal architecture of the human brain.
Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. Collège de France & Institut Pasteur UMR 3571 CNRS, Paris, France.