Showing posts from June, 2023

Progressive Liberalism's Dialectic

The last thing Condorcet wrote was a long book, entitled Outlines of an historical view of the progress of the human mind . It was published in 1795 and was for a while the most influential thing Condorcet produced (I think nowadays his probabilistic studies of democratic reasoning probably came to overshadow this). It expresses a remarkable optimism about the pattern and inevitability of human progress - an optimism no wise belied by the fact that shortly after its completion Condorcet was arrested and would die under somewhat unclear circumstances a prisoner of the French revolutionary forces, a revolution he himself had supported. It seems he anticipated some such fate, for here is the note on which he ended the piece Such are the questions with which we shall terminate the last division of our work. And how admirably calculated is this view of the human race, emancipated from its chains, released alike from the dominion of chance, as well as from that of the enemies of its progress