Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Condorcet, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat (1795), Outlines of an Historical View of the Progress of the Human Mind, Retrieved on 2012-08-06
  • Source Material [oll.libertyfund.org]
  • Folksonomies: philosophy

    Memes

    06 AUG 2012

     Knowledge Increases

    The progress of the sciences secures the progress of the art of instruction, which again accelerates in its turn that of the sciences; and this reciprocal influence, the action of which is incessantly increased, must be ranked in the number of the most prolific and powerful causes of the improvement of the human race. At present, a young man, upon finishing his studies and quitting our schools, may know more of the principles of mathematics than Newton acquired by profound study, or discovere...
      1  notes

    By standing on the shoulders of giants, the college-graduate can know more than Newton learned in a lifetime through all his hard work and discovery.

    06 AUG 2012

     Our Improvement Through Education is Limitless

    It has never yet been supposed, that all the facts of nature, and all the means of acquiring precision in the computation and analysis of those facts, and all the connections of objects with each other, and all the possible combinations of ideas, can be exhausted by the human mind. The mere relations of magnitude, the combinations, quantity and extent of this idea alone, form already a system too immense for the mind of man ever to grasp the whole of it; a portion, more vast than that which h...
      1  notes

    A vision of the future. Although we may never change physically or in our mental capacity, our innovations and amassing of knowledge will provide us with limitless potential for intellectual growth.

    27 AUG 2012

     Human Rights

    After ages of error, after wandering in all the mazes of vague and defective theories, writers upon politics and the law of nations at length arrived at the knowledge of the true rights of man, which they deduced from this simple principle: that he is a being endowed with sensation, capable of reasoning upon and understanding his interests, and of acquiring moral ideas. They saw that the maintenance of his rights was the only object of political union, and that the perfection of the socia...
    Folksonomies: human rights paradigm
    Folksonomies: human rights paradigm
      1  notes

    Early concept natural philosophy, refuted the established paradigm.

    25 DEC 2012

     Condorcet's Final Days

    Condorcet,proscribed by a sanguinary faction, formed the idea of addressing to his fellow-citizens a summary of his principles, and of his conduct in public affairs. He set down a few lines in execution of this project: but when he recollected, as he was obliged to do, thirty years of labour directed to the public service, and the multitude of fugitive pieces in which, since the revolution, he had uniformly attacked every institution inimical to liberty, he rejected the idea of a useless just...
      1  notes

    From the preface of Condorcet's book, describing his life and virtue in his final days and how he dedicated himself to the task of writing for the greater good.

    04 JAN 2013

     The Human Race Will Only Improve

    Such is the object of the work I have undertaken; the result of which will be to show, from reasoning and from facts, that no bounds have been fixed to the improvement of the human faculties; that the pefectibility of man is absolutely indefinite; that the progress of this perfectibility, henceforth above the controul of every power that would impede it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has placed us. The course of this progress may doubtless be more or less...
    Folksonomies: progress perfection
    Folksonomies: progress perfection
      1  notes

    We will only progress and proceed toward perfection.

    06 AUG 2012

     A Positive View of Human Progress

    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, and advancing with a firm and indeviate step in the paths of truth, to console the philosopher lamenting the errors, the flagrant acts of injustice, the crimes with which the earth is still polluted? It is the contemplation of this prospect that rewards him for all his efforts to assist the progress of reason...
    Folksonomies: philosophy optimism
    Folksonomies: philosophy optimism
      1  notes

    If civilization is ever-improving, then the philosophe can take heart that all the wickedness and ignorance they witness in their lifetimes mean nothing, because the good works will survive and carry on into a better future.

    19 APR 2013

     Prejudice is an Enemy of Reason

    We shall expose the origin and trace the history of general errors, which have more or less contributed to retard or suspend the advance of reason, and sometimes even, as much as political events, have been the cause of man’s taking a retrograde course towards ignorance. Those operations of the mind that lead to or retain us in error, from the subtle paralogism, by which the most penetrating mind may be deceived, to the mad reveries of enthusiasts, belong equally, with that just mode of re...
      1  notes

    It is a cognitive bias, and it prevents the acquisition of new truths.

    19 APR 2013

     How Do We Nourish the Revolution?

    Every thing tells us that we are approaching the era of one of the grand revolutions of the human race. What can better enlighten us to what we may expect, what can be a surer guide to us, amidst its commotions, than the picture of the revolutions that have preceded and prepared the way for it? The present state of knowledge assures us that it will be happy. But is it not upon condition that we know how to assist it with all our strength? And, that the happiness it promises may be less dearly...
      1  notes

    We are in a society that is experiencing accelerating happiness, accelerating technology, and social progress. The progress is inevitable, but we must understand it in order to encourage it and recognize the pitfalls it may experience.

    19 APR 2013

     Science in the Time of Hordes

    The only sciences known to savage hordes, are a slight and crude idea of astronomy, and the knowledge of certain medicinal plants employed in the cure of wounds and diseases; and even these are already corrupted by a mixture of superstition. Meanwhile there is presented to us in this epoch one fact of importance in the history of the human mind. We can here perceive the beginnings of an institution, that in its progress has been attended with opposite effects, accelerating the advancement of...
      1  notes

    In the early days, those with science subdued those who did not.

    19 APR 2013

     Science as Power, Kept in Writing

    In sedentary and peaceable societies, astronomy, medicine, the most simple notions of anatomy, the knowledge of plants and minerals, the first elements of the study of the phenomena of nature, acquired some improvement, or rather extended themselves by the mere influence of time, which, increasing the stock of observations, led, in a manner slow, but sure, to the easy and almost instant perception of some of the general consequences to which those observations were calculated to lead. Meanwh...
    Folksonomies: science society power
    Folksonomies: science society power
      1  notes

    Early scientists pursued science for power, and committed it in written form.

    19 APR 2013

     The Stagnation of the Sciences in Ancient Societies

    Such is the origin of almost all the religions that are known to us, and which the hypocrisy or the extravagance of their inventors and their proselytes afterwards loaded with new fables. These casts seized upon education, that they might fashion man to a more patient endurance of chains, embodied as it were with his existence, and extirpate the possibility of his desiring to break them. But, if we would know to what point, even without the aid of superstitious terrors, these institutions, s...
      1  notes

    The ruling class only kept enough truth to suit their purposes, leaving the rest to become like fables and rituals, causing cultural stagnation in places like Asia.

    19 APR 2013

     The Rise and Fall of Greek Science

    This fortunate circumstance, still more than political freedom, wrought in the human mind, among the Greeks, an independance, the surest pledge of the rapidity and greatness of its future progress. In the mean time their learned men, their sages, as they were called, but who soon took the more modest appellation of philosophers, or friends of science and wisdom, wandered in the immensity of the two vast and comprehensive plan which they had embraced. They were desirous of penetrating both th...
      1  notes

    Condorcet chronicles the Greek sciences, with their propensity for for philosophizing and fantasy, ending with Socrates, who demanded empiricism.

    19 APR 2013

     The Death of Socrates

    The burning of the Pythagorean school had already signalized the war, not less ancient, not less eager, of the oppressors of mankind against philosophy. The one and the other will continue to be waged as long as there shall exist priests or kings upon the earth; and these wars will occupy a conspicuous place in the picture that we have still to delineate. Priests saw with grief the appearance of men, who, cultivating the powers of reason, ascending to first principles, could not but discover...
    Folksonomies: history philosophy
    Folksonomies: history philosophy
      1  notes

    Retaliation from the priesthood.

    19 APR 2013

     The Birth of Political Science in Ancient Greece

    With the Greeks, education was an important part of polity. Men were formed for their country, much more than for themselves, or their family. This principle can only be embraced by commonities little populous, in which it is more pardonable to suppose a national interest, separate from the common interest of humanity. It is practicable only in countries where the most painful labours of culture and of the arts are performed by slaves. This branch of education was restricted almost entirely t...
    Folksonomies: history political science
    Folksonomies: history political science
      1  notes

    It is also the study of human beings.

    19 APR 2013

     Post-Modernism in Ancient Thought

    In the midst of the decline of Greece, Athens, which, in the days of its power, had honoured philosophy and letters, owed to them, in its turn, the preserving for a longer period some remains of its ancient splendour. In its tribune, indeed, the destinies of Greece and Asia were no longer decided; it was, however, in the schools of Athens that the Romans acquired the secrets of eloquence; and it was at the feet of Demosthenes’ lamp that the first of their orators was formed. The academy, t...
    Folksonomies: history science philosophy
    Folksonomies: history science philosophy
      1  notes

    With the idea that nothing is knowable, philosophy fell into a rut. Aristotle came along with the brilliant idea that everything we know comes through our senses, but failed to take that idea anywhere useful.

    19 APR 2013

     Christianity's Contempt for the Sciences

    Contempt for human sciences was one of the first features of Christianity. It had to avenge itself of the outrages of philosophy; it feared that spirit of investigation and doubt, that confidence of man in his own reason, the pest alike of all religious creeds. The light of the natural sciences was even odious to it, and was regarded with a suspicious eye, as being a dangerous enemy to the success of miracles: and there is no religion that does not oblige its sectaries to swallow some physica...
    Folksonomies: science religion
    Folksonomies: science religion
      1  notes

    It was a threat to it's authority, and if printing existed at the time, science may have survived, but instead it was abolished.

    19 APR 2013

     Greeks and Romans Lacked the Virtue of Doubt

    The Greek and Roman antiquarians, and even their literati and philosophers, are chargeable with a total neglect of that spirit of doubt which subjects to a rigorous investigation both sacts, and the proofs that establish them. In reading their accounts of the history of events or of manners, of the productions and phenomena of nature, or of the works and processes of the arts, we are astonished at the composure with which they relate the most palpable absurdities, and the most fulsome and dis...
    Folksonomies: history doubt
    Folksonomies: history doubt
      1  notes

    ...and as a result, their writing reveals an incredible gullibility.

    19 APR 2013

     The Book of Nature

    The same motives which had roused the minds of men from their long lethargy, must also have directed their exertions. Reason could not be appealed to for the decision of questions, of which opposite interests had compelled the discussion. Religion, far from acknowledging its power, boasted of having subjected and humbled it. Politics considered as just what had been consecrated by compact, by constant practice, and ancient customs. No doubt was entertained that the rights of man were written...
    Folksonomies: nature religion
    Folksonomies: nature religion
      1  notes

    A time when books were valued over nature.

    19 APR 2013

     The Impact of the Printing Press

    It is to the press we owe the possibility of spreading those publications which the emergency of the moment, or the transient fluctuations of opinion, may require, and of interesting thereby in any question, treated in a single point of view, whole communities of men reading and understanding the same language. All those means which render the progress of the human mind more easy, more rapid, more certain, are also the benefits of the press. Without the instrumentality of this art, such book...
    Folksonomies: enlightenment media truth
    Folksonomies: enlightenment media truth
     2  2  notes

    It prevented authority from closing off access to truth.

    19 APR 2013

     The Splits in Christianity Led to Religious Toleration

    The spirit which animated the reformers did not introduce a real freedom of sentiment. Each religion, in the country in which it prevailed, had no indulgence but for certain opinions. Meanwhile, as the different creeds were opposed to each other, few opinions existed that had not been attacked or supported in some part of Europe. The new communions had beside been obliged to relax a little from their dogmatical rigour. They could not, without the grossest contradiction, confine the right of e...
    Folksonomies: religion tolerance
    Folksonomies: religion tolerance
      1  notes

    When there were many sects of Chrisianity, Europe had to grow tolerant of them.

    19 APR 2013

     Progress of Science in the Eighth Epoch

    The march of the sciences is rapid and brilliant. The Algebraic language becomes generalized, simplified and perfected, or rather it is now only that it was truly formed. The first foundations of the general theory of equations are laid, the nature of the solutions which they give is ascertained, and those of the third and fourth degree are resolved. The ingenious invention of logarithms, as abridging the operations of arithmetic, facilitates the application of calculation to the various obj...
    Folksonomies: history science
    Folksonomies: history science
      1  notes

    After the invention of the printing press, the sciences flourish in many fields.

    19 APR 2013

     Why There Cannot be a Language of Science

    We may show that, as it was impossible to make the Latin a vulgar tongue common to all Europe, the continuance of the custom of writing in it upon the sciences would have been attended with a transient advantage only to those who studied them; that the existence of a sort of scientific language among the learned of all nations, while the people of each individual nation spoke a different one, would have divided men into two classes, would have perpetuated in the people prejudices and errors, ...
      1  notes

    Latin could not become the language of science, common to all educated people, while the countries continued to speak different languages, would create a class division.

    19 APR 2013

     Science, Religion, and the Motion of the Earth

    We may distinguish the progress of each science as it is in itself, which has no other limit than the number of truths it includes within its sphere, and the progress of a nation in each science, a progress which is regulated first by the number of men who are acquainted with its leading and most important truths, and next by the number and nature of the truths so known. In fine, we are now come to that point of civilization, at which the people derive a profit from intellectual knowledge, n...
    Folksonomies: science religion astronomy
    Folksonomies: science religion astronomy
      1  notes

    Science worked from reality, Religion condescended to allow for the motion of the Earth.

    19 APR 2013

     Bacon, Galileo, Descartes

    The transition from the epoch we have been considering to that which follows, has been distinguished by three extraordinary personages, Bacon, Galileo, and Descartes. Bacon has revealed the true method of studying nature, by employing the three instruments with which she has furnished us for the discovery of her secrets, observation, experiment and calculation. He was desirous that the philosopher, placed in the midst of the universe, should, as a first and necessary step in his career, renou...
    Folksonomies: history science philosophy
    Folksonomies: history science philosophy
      1  notes

    Condorcet considers the last the most important of the era.

    19 APR 2013

     How the American Revolution Sparked the Enlightenment

    The simple dictates of good sense had taught the inhabitants of the British colonies, that men born on the American side of the Atlantic ocean had received from nature the same rights as others born under the meridian of Greenwich, and that a difference of sixty-six degrees of longitude could have no power of changing them. They understood, more perfectly perhaps than Europeans, what were the rights common to all the individuals of the human race; and among these they included the right of no...
    Folksonomies: enlightenment revolution
    Folksonomies: enlightenment revolution
      1  notes

    The war between two enlightened nations spread to France.

    19 APR 2013

     Man Becomes Acquainted With the Laws of the Universe

    Rational mechanics soon became a vast and profound science. The true laws of the collision of bodies, respecting which Descartes was deceived, were at length known. Huyghens discovered the laws of circular motions; and at the same time he gives a method of determining the radius of curvature for every point of a given curve. By uniting both theories, Newton invented the theory of curve-lined motions, and applied it to those laws according to which Kepler had discovered that the planets descr...
    Folksonomies: history physics astronomy
    Folksonomies: history physics astronomy
      1  notes

    When we learned and understood the motions of bodies in space.

    19 APR 2013

     Outline of the Natural Sciences Pt. I

    The heavens are enriched for the man of science with new stars, and he applies his knowledge to determine and foretel with accuracy their positions and movements. Natural philosophy, gradually delivered from the vague explanations of Descartes, in the same manner as it before was disembarrassed from the absurdities of the schools, is now nothing more than the art of interrogating nature by experiment, for the parpose of afterwards deducing more general facts by computation. The weight of the...
      1  notes

    From Condorcet's Ninth Epoch. A survey of the world of science and a call for the need for the different sciences to find points where they touch in order to strengthen.

    19 APR 2013

     Outline of the Natural Sciences Pt. II

    The circulation of the blood was long since known; but the disposition of the vessels which conveyed the chyle to mix with it, and repair its losses; the existence of a gastric fluid which disposes the elements to the decomposition necessary to separate from organised matter, that portion which is proper to become assimilated with the living fluids; the changes undergone by the various parts and organs in the interval between conception and birth, and afterwards during the different ages of l...
      1  notes

    From Condorcet's Ninth Epoch. A survey of the world of science and a call for the need for the different sciences to find points where they touch in order to strengthen.

    19 APR 2013

     The Projected Growth of the Sciences

    It has never yet been supposed, that all the facts of nature, and all the means of acquiring precision in the computation and analysis of those facts, and all the connections of objects with each other, and all the possible combinations of ideas, can be exhausted by the human mind. The mere relations of magnitude, the combinations, quantity and extent of this idea alone, form already a system too immense for the mind of man ever to grasp the whole of it; a portion, more vast than that which h...
    Folksonomies: knowledge growth
    Folksonomies: knowledge growth
      1  notes

    Condorcet sees our knowledge growing exponentially into the deepest minutia.

    19 APR 2013

     The Importance of Language to Science

    There is another species of progress, appertaining to the sciences in question, equally important; I mean, the improvement of their language, at present so vague and so obscure. To this improvement must they owe the advantage of becoming popular, even in their first elements. Genius can triumph over these inaccuracies, as over other obstacles; it can recognise the features of truth, in spite of the mask that conceals or disfigures them. But how is the man who can devote but a few leisure mome...
    Folksonomies: science language
    Folksonomies: science language
      1  notes

    An imperfect language communicates vaguely. In science, we require exact and precise terminology to prevent misunderstanding.

    19 APR 2013

     Science and Education Feed One Another

    The progress of the sciences secures the progress of the art of instruction, which again accelerates in its turn that of the sciences; and this reciprocal influence, the action of which is incessantly increased, must be ranked in the number of the most prolific and powerful causes of the improvement of the human race. At present, a young man, upon finishing his studies and quitting our schools, may know more of the principles of mathematics than Newton acquired by profound study, or discovere...
    Folksonomies: science education
    Folksonomies: science education
      1  notes

    Progress in one secures progress in the other.

    19 APR 2013

     The Philosopher's Solace

    ...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, and advancing with a firm and indeviate step in the paths of truth, to console the philosopher lamenting the errors, the flagrant acts of injustice, the crimes with which the earth is still polluted? It is the contemplation of this prospect that rewards him for all his efforts to assist the progress of reason ...
      1  notes

    The unstoppable perfectibility of the human race is almost a law of the Universe that no injustice in the present can undo.

    27 AUG 2012

     How Knowledge Brought Egalitarianism

    The art of printing had been applied to so many subjects, books had so rapidly increased, they were so admirably adapted to every taste, every degree of information, and every situation of life, they afforded so easy and frequently so delightful an instruction, they had opened so many doors to truth, which it was impossible ever to close again, that there was no longer a class or profession of mankind from whom the light of knowledge could absolutely be excluded. Accordingly, though there sti...
    Folksonomies: society knowledge
    Folksonomies: society knowledge
      2  notes

    The printing press resulted in the mass distribution of ideas, which freed humans from established heirarchies.

    19 APR 2013

     Death is Not Assured

    The organic perfectibility or deterioration of the classes of the vegetable, or species of the animal kingdom, may be regarded as one of the general laws of nature. This law extends itself to the human race; and it cannot be doubted that the progress of the sanative art, that the use of more wholesome food and more comfortable habitations, that a mode of life which shall develope the physical powers by exercise, without at the same time impairing them by excess; in fine, that the destruction...
     1  1  notes

    Through perpetual improvement through the sciences, humans may not ever attain immortality, but we may extend our lives indefinitely.