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Reaction To "Sketch Of The Progress Of The Human Mind"

1455 words - 6 pages

Reaction Paper
“Sketch of the Progress of the Human Mind”

Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), mathematician, philosopher and revolutionist was said to be the most famous prophet of progress in the Enlightenment period. Condorcet was born in Ribemont, France, and was taught at the Jesuit College in Reims and at the College of Navarre in Paris. He was skilled in various different areas, and when the Enlightenment came, he was enthralled by the idea of democracy. In Condorcet’s article “Sketch of the Progress of the Human Mind”, he demonstrates his strong opinions on the idea of progress and change for society. Excerpts from “The Ninth Epoch” and “The Ten Epoch”, also written by ...view middle of the document...

Condorcet says “The advances of scientific knowledge are all the more deadly to these errors because they destroy them without appearing to attack them. While lavishing on those who stubbornly defend them the degrading taunt of ignorance….”. The traditional way of passing information, by trusting authority and believing your elders, is proved wrong by the sciences; not by directly attacking these beliefs, but by simply proving otherwise. The sciences help humanity to realize that they are not destined for doom and the prejudices that they have been conditioned to believe are no longer valid. Condorcet believes that class and social status no longer shall be determined by birth, but by the knowledge one obtains, and the paths they embark on. These ideas give hope to the people, they can determine their own destiny, he wants society to learn themselves, and make their own conclusions, rather than base their beliefs on authority or scholars.
The excerpt from “The Tenth Epoch”, Condorcet outlines three important principles that are crucial to the success of his hopes for the future. His first point is “the destruction and equality among nations”. Condorcet uses the happenings and establishments in Asia and Africa as an example. These countries are being abused and the beliefs of their population are being manipulated to fit that of the nations trying to control them with monopolies and displaying discriminations against people of different race and color. Condorcet believes that instead of taking advantage of these countries, and allowing the wealthy to become more wealthy and powerful, reason should be introduced into Asia and Africa and with knowledge, they should be able to advance in a positive direction. Rather than having money hungry men stripping these countries of whatever wealth they can find, and returning to the homeland to buy themselves power and status, Condorcet hopes that these lands can be filled with well-educated hard working men, who will spread their knowledge and help these countries grow. He believes this will change from a society where people are always prejudiced and made to feel lesser, to a place filled with leaders who want to progress and make better; the people will be liberated.
Condorcet’s second point is “the progress of equality within nations themselves”. In order to achieve this, Condorcet believes that prejudice and inequality need to be eliminated. He hopes that a day will come when tyranny and superstition no longer exist, they will become a past that can only be looked upon. Man will be born with no other direction than his own reason. Condorcet believes that the people will eliminate slavery and hard labor by advancing technologically to produce goods efficiently, with less work and more productivity. This would make it achievable for every man to provide for themselves. This progress will have no limits. One major prejudice Condorcet deems very important to eliminate is that of women. He believes...

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