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.
Steven Lukes is Professor of Sociology at New York University. He has previously held posts in politics and sociology at Balliol College, Oxford, in political and social theory at the European University Institute in Florence, in moral philosophy at the University of Sienna and in sociology at the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the European Journal of Sociology. His writing and teaching have ranged over political science, political and moral philosophy, sociology, anthropology and the philosophy of the social sciences. He has published widely on these subjects, most recently Moral Relativism. Nadia Urbinati is Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University. She studied philosophy and political science at the University of Bologna (her Alma Mater) and the European University Institute, where she obtained her doctorate. She is the winner of the 2008-2009 Lenfest/Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award and in 2004 her book Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government (2002) received the David and Elaine Spitz Prize. She has published widely on her research interests in both English and Italian.
Editors' introduction; Published works by Condorcet; Suggestions for further reading; Principal events in Condorcet's life; Notes on the texts; 1. The Sketch; 2. On slavery; 3. On the emancipation of women; 4. On despotism; 5. On freedom; 6. On revolution; 7. Advice to his daughter and testament; Index.