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 Encyclop├ędie. But he is mainly remembered for his Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progr├Ęs 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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