Jean Cavaillès was born in Saint-Maixent, Deux-Sèvres., in western France. After earning a mathematics degree at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure, he became a teacher there. He won a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship in 1929-1930, and in 1937, earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Paris. He became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Strasbourg, until being mobilized into the French infantry at the start of World War II. Captured by the Germans, he escaped to Clermont-Ferrand, where he met Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie and Lucie and Raymond Aubrac, with whom he created the Resistance group Libération-Sud. They also founded an underground newspaper that was to become Libération. Cavaillès edited the paper until leaving Clermont-Ferrand for Paris, where he helped form the Libération-Nord resistance group. In 1942, he was sent back to the Vichy zone to form an intelligence network. He was arrested by the French police in Narbonne and interned in Montpellier, but escaped at the end of the year and fled to London to join the Free French. He returned to France in April 1943 and supervised sabotage activities at German radio installations on the coast of Brittany. He was betrayed and arrested in August 1943 in Paris, tortured by the Gestapo, and executed in 1944. The book he wrote in prison in Montpellier, Sur la logique et la theorie de la science, was edited by Georges Canguilhem and Charles Ehresmann and published posthumously in 1946.