His first employment was the post of philosophy professor at the lycée in Caen. In 1874 he published his book on which he based his doctoral thesis. The Contingency of the laws of the nature was an analysis of the implications of Kantian philosophy for science.
Between 1874-1876 Boutroux taught at the Faculty of Letters at the University of Nancy and while there he fell in love with and married Aline Poincaré the sister of the scientist and mathematician Henri Poincaré. In 1880 his son, Pierre, was born. Pierre Boutroux was himself to become a distinguished mathematician and historian of science.
In 1888 Boutroux was made professor of history of modern philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris.
He was elected a member of Academy of the Moral and Political Sciences in 1898 and in 1902 he became Director of the Thiers foundation, a residency for France's brightest students. He was elected to the Académie française in 1912.
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