Who is Emile Meyerson?

Who is Emile Meyerson?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Emile Meyerson Émile Meyerson was a Polish-born French chemist and philosopher of science who lived from February 12, 1859 to December 4, 1933.

Educated in classical science and chemistry under Robert Wilhelm Bunsen in Germany, Meyerson later immigrated to Paris, where he worked as an industrial chemist, editor of the news agency and later director of the Jewish Colonization Society for Europe and Asia.

The famous French thinker and historian of science Emile Meyerson has mainly produced works on the history of science, philosophy of science and general epistemology. His studies on the history of science enabled him to understand the functioning of the mind in science and its products. Thus, according to him, the history of science provides us with the best examples of seeing the human mind at work.

On the other hand, every research or study is always with preconceived notions for progress; that is, with assumptions, theories, assumptions, etc. is executed; because the human mind is never completely independent of these elements.

So, according to Meyerson, preconceptions, I would say, theories and assumptions are always dominant in scientific research, and in fact, these are the things that guide our progress and cannot be without it. In other words, we are never completely free of preconceptions; even when we examine our beliefs and opinions, we can clearly see that we are attached to these concepts.

Emile Meyerson
LEGAL SCIENCE AND CAUSEAL SCIENCE

Meyerson also conceives of the history of science as the constant investigation of what remains the same in what changes, because the primary goal of science is explanation, which means reaching identity; It is the study of the history of science as well as the history of dominant ideas in science. Besides, for Meyerson, who has an anti-positivist attitude towards science, science emerges as two related activities: on the one hand, it is descriptive; on the one hand, it is an explanatory activity. Meyerson calls the first of these activities “legal science” and calls the second “causal science”.

According to Meyerson, who openly stated that he agreed with Pierre Duhem about the functioning and nature of science, Duhem showed perfectly that without a theory language, we cannot explain, let alone an experiment, in physics. For Meyerson, too, a proposition about the outcome of experiment refers to the acceptance and belief in a whole set of theories; Thus, between the observed phenomena and the experimental result formulated and articulated by the scientist, a very complex intellectual craftsmanship comes into play.

According to Meyerson, a researcher or scientist should always keep in mind that when conducting or conducting his research he is loaded with preconceptions, concepts, and assumptions, because these are the things we inevitably need guidance from in science. Thus, science is essentially just an advanced stage of the metaphysics of nature, and its purpose is to discover the rationality in things. Rationality should be understood as reducing differences to identity. In other words, according to Meyerson, the primary purpose of science is explanation aimed at identity.

On the other hand, a utilitarian and practical understanding of science was adopted, especially with the influence of Comte’s positivist understanding of science; The purpose of science is also determined to be foreknowledge. Thus, the domain of science includes phenomena that obey laws, and if there is no law, there is no science. At this point, Meyerson thinks that science emerges as two interrelated activities. Accordingly, science emerges as a descriptive and explanatory activity.

Meyerson calls the descriptive character of science “legal” science; the idea of ​​legality dominates in descriptive science; accordingly, legal science, describing, predicting facts; corresponds to the scientific laws that refer to the relationships and transactions that govern them. The concept of natural law includes the idea that the same phenomena must occur everywhere and always in the same order and in the same physical conditions or when the same physical conditions are created.

Emile Meyerson

According to Meyerson, Comte is of the opinion that the principle of legality he put forward dominates the whole of human thought; however, the principle of legality is built on the principle of causality or ontology, which Meyerson also calls the underlying foundation. Ontology, for Meyerson, in a sense corresponds to the underlying foundations necessary for understanding the relations of observation. Here, the source of the distinction between “relation” and “fundamental ground” is legality and causality, which are the two basic principles of reason.

Accordingly, the principle of legality deals with observational relations, not observation bases. According to legality, there is a fixed, unchanging relationship between the conditions affecting the properties of a substance and the actions of these properties; so, given the knowledge of the circumstances, we can predict the movement of those features. Accordingly, legal science enables us to predict the results of natural processes and to use these processes skillfully for our own purposes.

At this point, description is not the only business of science.