Meyerson studied at the University of Gottingen.
Meyerson studied at Friedrich Wilhelm University.
Meyerson studied at the University of Heidelberg.
Meyerson was educated in Germany, where he studied from the ages of twelve to twenty-three and passed his Abitur. Interested in chemistry he followed the usual practice of spending time at several universities distinguished for research laboratories; Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin. He studied under Robert Wilhelm Bunsen.
Meyerson worked in Paul Schutzenberger’s laboratory at the College de France after his arrival at Paris in 1882. His short career as an industrial chemist was blighted by his failure to develop a process for the synthetic manufacture of indigo based on a wrong reaction obtained by Baeyer. Meyerson’s excellent command of several languages then led him to become a foreign news editor at the Havas News Agency. He joined the M Group - Jean Moreas, Charles Maurras, and Maurice Mauridron - which met at the Cafe Vachette.
In 1898 Meyerson left Havas to work for Edmond de Rothschild’s philanthropic organization that sought to settle Jews in Palestine and became the head of the Jewish Colonization Association for Europe and Asia Minor. He also collaborated on the famous report on the economic situation of Jews in the Russian Empire. Through the support of Harald Hoffding, a longtime friend and correspondent, he was elected to the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in 1926; that year he also became a correspondent member of the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. Although Meyerson was not formally a member of the French academic community, he enjoyed the friendship of the philosopher Dominique Parodi, Leon Brunschvicg, and Lucian Levy-Bruhl, as well as the scientists Paul Langevin and Louis de Broglie. His intellectual salon, which met weekly to discuss scientific and Philosophical topics, included Langevin, de Broglie, Helene Metzger, Alexandre Koyre, General Andre Metz, Andre George, Salomon Reinach, Levy-Bruhl, Henri Gouhier, and Vladimir Jankelevitch. Meyerson’s influence was assured through this informal institution as well as through his articles and books.
Meyerson’s philosophy had little influence after the 1930s; its eclipse corresponded to “the decline and fall of causality” in contemporary science, the strength of the Vienna Circle in the philosophy of science, and the shift in interest among philosophers from problems of knowledge to problems of existence. In France, there was also the attack by Gaston Bachelard, who exaggerated the continuity and realism in Meyerson. Nevertheless, the continuing literature on Meyerson indicates a fairly strong interest in his work, and his ideas show little sign of becoming extinct. Jacques Maritain’s Degrees of knowledge reveals the interest of Thomists in his ideas.
Meyerson was a non-practicing Judaist.
Meyerson retained an attachment to Zionism.
A self-taught philosopher, Meyerson became a kind of anti-positivist idealist for whom science was the product of a priori ideas in the mind of the scientist not of the conditions nature imposed, a view in Meyerson’s opinion borne out by his extensive researches in the history of science which, he claimed, refuted the programme of the objective description of nature. For Meyerson, the aim of scientific knowledge was the causes of the things and the identities underlying the superficial flux of the phenomena. Under the traditional regulative principle causa aequat effectuai, variety and heterogeneity were to be reduced to homogeneity and unity. He did not, however, believe that this goal was in practice achievable. Nature resisted the endeavours of the scientist and he saw the progress of science as a tension between rationalizing tendencies leading to a sort of Parmenidean elimination of genuine change, and nature’s irrationality resisting it. For example, Carnot’s principle, that heat could not be completely converted into work, showed that time and change could not be eliminated from the theory of heat. His attempts to come to grips philosophically with the new quantum and relativistic physical theories earned Meyerson the respect of Einstein. As much through his circle of acquaintance as through his writings, he became influential in much modern French historiography of science, as in the work of such figures as Alexandre Koyré and Hélène Metzger.