Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-94), known as the Last of the Philosophes, the intellectuals in the French Enlightenment who sought to apply their learning to solving the problems of their world. He became a passionate believer in the progress of society, an advocate for equal rights for women and the abolition of the slave trade and for representative government. The French Revolution gave him a chance to advance those ideas and, while the Terror brought his life to an end, his wife Sophie de Grouchy 91764-1822) ensured his influence into the next century and beyond.

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  • Rachel Hammersley 2 episodes
    Professor of Intellectual History at Newcastle University
  • Richard Whatmore 6 episodes
    Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Co-Director of the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History
  • Tom Hopkins No other episodes
    Senior Teaching Associate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College

Reading list

  • Condorcet: From Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics
    Keith Michael Baker (University of Chicago Press, 1974) Google Books →
  • On Condorcet's Sketch
    Keith Michael Baker
  • Condorcet and the Meaning of Enlightenment
    Lorraine Daston
  • The Enlightenment: A Genealogy
    Dan Edelstein (Chicago University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought
    Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (eds) (Cambridge University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Cercle Social, the Girondins, and the French Revolution
    Gary Kates (Princeton University Press, 1985) Google Books →
  • Condorcet: Political Writings
    Steven Lukes and Nadia Urbinati (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • A Republic of Sympathy: Sophie de Grouchy's Politics and Philosophy, 1785-1815
    Kathleen McCrudden Illert (Cambridge University Press, 2024)
  • Condorcet: Foundations of Social Choice and Political Theory
    Iain McLean and Fiona Hewitt (eds.) (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1994)
  • Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment
    Emma Rothschild (Harvard University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • The End of Enlightenment
    Richard Whatmore (Allen Lane, 2023) Google Books →
  • Condorcet and Modernity
    David Williams (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001v3wy

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Auto-category: 190 (Modern Western philosophy)