Reaction to "Sketch of the Progress of the Human Mind"

In: Historical Events

Submitted By kayteeroo
Words 1441
Pages 6
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 Condorcet, help to portray these ideas. In the introduction to the article, Condorcet explains general thoughts about the history and ideology of society. He says that generally people did not want to go against tradition, but they did believe that religion and government could change. By change they did not necessarily mean moving forward with new ideas, but resorting back to features of previous “golden ages”. People believed that history repeated itself, and the way of life would always be the same. It was not until the 18th and 19th centuries in the West that people began to believe in beneficial changes, they began to believe in progress. This belief in progress dates back to the 18th century Enlightenment; people thought they could better humanity by eliminating cruelties, superstitions, and prejudices that had existed in the past. The excerpt from “The Ninth Epoch” demonstrates Condorcet’s beliefs that scientific achievement was the contributing feature of change in human thinking during this time. Science gave people the opportunity to voice their opinions openly. They realized that the information provided to them by authority and tradition does not necessarily need to be…...

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