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 →

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Auto-category: 190 (Modern Western philosophy)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Nicolas de Condorcet is 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 time.