Hélène Metzger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hélène Metzger
Born26 August 1889
Died7 March 1944 (1944-03-08) (aged 54)
On the way to Auschwitz
Scientific career
FieldsPhilosophy, history of science
InfluencesLucien Lévy-Bruhl, André Lalande, Abel Rey, Léon Brunschvicg, Émile Meyerson, Alexandre Koyré, Henri Berr, Lucien Febvre
InfluencedGaston Bachelard, Thomas Kuhn[1]

Hélène Metzger (26 August 1889 – 7 March 1944) was a French philosopher of science and historian of science.[2] In her writings she focused mainly on the history of chemistry. Due to her Jewish background, she became a victim of the Holocaust in the Second World War, dying in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Because of her early death, her oeuvre is limited in size, but has nonetheless been influential. She published nine books, thirty-six articles and numerous reviews.[3] Contemporaries such as Gaston Bachelard and Émile Meyerson referred often to her works and also Thomas Kuhn, in the introduction of his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) referred to her as one of his main inspirations. She was the niece of Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, an influential French anthropologist.


  • La genèse de la science des cristaux (1918)
  • Les doctrines chimiques en France du début du XVIIe à la fin du XVIIIe siècle (1923)
  • Les Concepts scientifiques (1926)
  • Newton, Stahl, Boerhaave et la doctrine chimique (1930)
  • La chimie (1930)
  • La Philosophie de la matière chez Lavoisier (1935)
  • Attraction universelle et religion naturelle chez quelques commentateurs anglais de Newton (1938)
  • La Science, l’appel de la religion et la volonté humaine (1954)
  • La Méthode philosophique en histoire des sciences(1987) (ed. Gad Freudenthal)
  • "Extraits de lettres, 1921–1944," in Gad Freudenthal Études sur / Studies on Hélène Metzger (1990), pp. 247–269.


  1. ^ Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1970 (2nd ed.), p. vi.
  2. ^ Freudenthal, Gad (1 March 2009). "Hélène Metzger 1889 – 1944". Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive.
  3. ^ Bowden, Mary Ellen (1990). "Gad Freudenthal, Études sur / Studies on Hélène Metzger (review)". The Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry News. 7 (2): 12.


  • Bensaude-Vincent, B., 'Chemistry in the French tradition of philosophy of science: Duhem, Meyerson, Metzger and Bachelard,' Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, 36, 2005, pp. 627–648.
  • Chimisso, C., 'Hélène Metzger: The History of Science between the Study of Mentalities and Total History,' Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 32, 2001, pp. 203–241.
  • Chimisso, C., Writing the History of the Mind - Philosophy and Science in France, 1900 to 1960s, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008.
  • Chimisso, C. & Freudenthal, G., 'A Mind of Her Own. Hélène Metzger to Émile Meyerson, 1933', Isis, 94, 2003, pp. 477–491.
  • Freudenthal, G. (ed.) Études sur / Studies on Hélène Metzger, Leiden, Brill, 1990.