Condorcet

1994 PW16. Discovered 1994 Aug. 10 by E. W. Elst at La Silla.

Named for the French philosopher of the Enlightenment, Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), an advocate of educational reform and a believer in the indefinite perfectability of mankind. At an early age, Condorcet showed remarkable mathematical abilities, notably in probability theory, and as a friend of d'Alembert {see planet (5956)} he took an active part in the preparation of the Encyclopédie. But he is mainly remembered for his Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain (1795), with its fundamental idea of the continuous progress of humankind to an ultimate perfection. Suspected as a Girondin, he has to flee, but eventually he was captured and imprisoned at Bourg-La-Reine, where he was poisoned. (M 31028)

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