Marquis de Condorcet

Condorcet was a mathematician by training. When he applied his practical skills to the Royal Mint in France he began to consider philosophy and become more of a polymath like Franklin who he worked with. He was a leader at the beginning of the French Revolution. He opposed the death penalty for Louis XVI and drafted the Girondin constitution. But he was not radical enough and had to go into hiding. His popularity was helpful in keeping him alive perhaps. His optimism, even in hiding led him to write “The future progress of the human mind.” This was Condorcet’s utopian vision for humankind was that being able to observe the natural world and record history, we could look to the future advancement of our species in confidence of continual improvement. An improvement that would, with its ongoing progress, perfect itself as reason leads us in the onward march to a greater, more fruitful and happier existence. Not wed to scientific discovery but constantly changing as new data would correct the previous theories. The key would be education, based on true learning, not tutelage. Leading to a constitution that defines equality. Equality in world affairs and in individual nations and the opportunity for all to better themselves. As agriculture and industry improve so does the lot and the prosperity of humans. Casting aside the hypocrisy, venality and corruption of the monarchy, aristocracy and the church. Maybe there were those whose progress had been backward in the way they treat natives and slaves in far flung colonies. But with the correct application of reasonable laws and procedures, humanity can only improve itself as human life carries on its onward march of perfection. He was someone who designed the education system in France. Initially being run by the educated savants. But this was too elitist at the time. He was dedicated to equality for gender and race.

Conway-Laird (2017)

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