Marquis of Condorcet

Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, French thinker, mathematician, teacher, encyclopaedist and revolutionary politician. Typical representative of the 18th century Enlightenment ideals is considered the founder of the French educational system. Condorcet's ideas for economic freedom, religious tolerance, legal and educational reforms, and against slavery make him a typical Enlightenment figure, even if it belongs to the nobility.

Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet, was born in Ribemont, France, on September 17, 1743. From a family traditionally influential in chivalry and church, she studied at Jesuit colleges in Reims and Paris, and soon excelled in the exact sciences. At Collège Navarre he gained a reputation as a mathematician. In 1769, he became a member of the Academy of Sciences. Condorcet actively participated in the preparation of the Encyclopédie and, in 1782, was elected to the French Academy. It also belonged to other European academies.

He published his first repercussion work: From calcul integral (1765). Posted Essay on the application of the analysis to the probability of the decisions yields to the plurality of the voix (1785; Essay on the application of probability analysis to decisions submitted to plurality votes), memorable work in the area of ​​probability. He became a member and president of the post-Revolutionary Legislative Assembly. As a member of the Academie des Sciences he participated, along with Legendre, Carnot, Monk and Lagrange, in the famous Weights and Measures Committee (1790-1799). He stood out as a pioneer of social mathematics.

The outbreak of the French revolution, to which Condorcet enthusiastically joined, deeply involved him in political activity. His project for a new constitution, representative of the more moderate positions of the Girondins, was rejected in favor of the Jacobins, the most radical revolutionary group, whose main figure was Robespierre. It advocated free public education and mass immunization campaigns, such as smallpox vaccination. The triumph of Robespierre's radical theses forced him to flee.

His advanced ideas brought him the persecution of the Septembrists, falling into disgrace, forcing him to flee and having his arrest decreed. While living underground, he wrote the masterpiece, published posthumously (1795), for which he is known worldwide: Check out a historical table on the progress of a human (1795); Sketches of a historical picture of the progress of the human spirit). His fundamental idea was that of the continuous progress of mankind toward perfection. Chased by the revolution he had supported, Condorcet was finally arrested on March 29, 1794 in the town of Clamart. Taken to Bourg-la-Reine, he was found dead in the prison cell the following day.