In the writings of the Marquis de Condorcet
, just as reason and technology allowed man to understand and conquer nature, so it would allow him to order his moral life and achieve the "true perfection of mankind.
By then the former Marquise de Condorcet
and living in Paris, Sophie de Grouchy (1764-1822) published her translation into French of Adam Smith's 1759 The Theory of Moral Sentiments in two volumes, and appended eight Lettres sur la sympathie to the second, presenting her views as a moral theorist on the philosophical issues Smith raised.
I want now to sketch out the logical postulates entailed by the concept of a scientifically planned and administered society--a technocracy--and to consider how this logic directs the social philosophy of one of the first and most fascinating of the proto-technocrats, the Marquis de Condorcet
MARQUIS DE CONDORCET
, ESSAY ON THE APPLICATION OF MATHEMATICS
The career of Jean-Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet
is relevant to historical assessments of eighteenth-century liberalism, the birth of the social sciences, and the relationship between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
Roderick Kiewiet, with a new take on Madison's role in the debt-assumption-for-Potomac-Capitol bargain in the First Congress); the failure of nineteenth-century British colonial administrators to learn anything from Madison's federalism (Iain McLean); Madison's role in founding the party system of the 1790s (Norman Schofield); and the supposed influence on Madison of the grandfather of modern social choice theory, the Marquis de Condorcet
(the McLean and Schofield essays).
These are the kind of theorists who would point out that, say, the Marquis de Condorcet
Enlightenment thinkers, such as Immanuel Kant in Germany and Marquis de Condorcet
in France, believed that an age of rationality had dawned, bringing an end to superstition and injustice.
As the Marquis de Condorcet
put it in The Perfectibility of Man (written, ironically, but not coincidentally, during the French Revolution), "The sole foundation for belief in the natural sciences is this idea, that the general laws directing the phenomena of the universe, known or unknown, are necessary and constant.