Oeuvres complètes de Condorcet: Volume 2


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chez Vieweg
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Dec 31, 1804
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"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 justification. Free as he was from the dominion of the passions, he could not consent to stain the purity of his mind by recollecting his persecutors; perpetually and sublimely inattentive to himself, he determined to consecrate the short space that remained between him and death to a work of general and permanent utility. That work is the performance now given to the world. It has relation to a number of others, in which the rights of men had previously been discussed and established; in which superstition had received its last and fatal blow; in which the methods of the mathematical sciences, applied to new objects, have opened new avenues to the moral and political sciences; in which the genuine principles of social happiness have received a development, and kind of demonstration, unknown before; lastly, in which we every where perceive marks of that profound morality, which banishes even the very frailties of self-love--of those pure and incorruptible virtues within the influence of which it is impossible to live without feeling a religious veneration"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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