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May 11 , 2011

Condorcet: Political Writings


Nicolas de Condorcet (1743–1794), the innovating founder of mathematical thinking in politics, was the last great philosophe of the French Enlightenment and a central figure in the early years of the French Revolution. His political writings give a compelling vision of human progress across world history and express the hopes of that time in the future perfectibility of man. This volume contains a revised translation of 'The Sketch', written while in hiding from the Jacobin Terror, together with lesser-known writings on the emancipation of women, the abolition of slavery, the meanings of freedom and despotism and reflections on revolutionary violence. The introduction by Steven Lukes and Nadia Urbinati sets these works in context and shows why Condorcet is of real interest today as we reinterpret the meaning of Enlightenment, the very idea of progress and the founding ideas of social democracy.

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