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Baker K.M. Condorcet, from Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics

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Baker K.M. Condorcet, from Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975. — 552 p.
This is Neither a New Biography of Condorcet Nor an Attempt to analyze exhaustively all aspects of his thinking. In the following pages have concentrated on a single theme in his thought —albeit, I think, the central one —his conception of social science. I have tried to analyze historically the nature and development of this conception as it took shape in the general context of Enlightenment thought and the particular socia and political milieu that was eighteenth-century France. My subtitle, From Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics, is therefore meant to sugges both the particular course of Condorcet’s intellectual development and a more general evolution of ideas within the Enlightenment to which he contributed.
In recent years, the achievement of the Enlightenment in the development of the modern social sciences has once again been emphasized. Pete
Gay has synthesized much of the work in this field, incorporating it into hi stimulating general interpretation of the Enlightenment. The creation o
the social sciences, he has argued, was one of the most characteristic accomplishments of the philosophes. In this domain, they “laid the foundations and wrote the classics.” The same conviction is evident in Georges Gusdorfs Introduction aux sciences humaines (1960) much o
which is devoted to an analysis of the approaches to the science of man in the eighteenth century
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