Was 18th century philosopher and revolutionary Condorcet a sci com precursor?

Wednesday 13 July 2016

The Marquis de Condorcet was a mathematician, philosophe and active player in the French Revolution. But was he an early science communicator?

In a new paper for the Journal of Science Communication, CPAS academic Dr Lindy Orthia examines Condorcet's final work, his Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (written while in hiding in 1794, and published posthumously in 1795). Among other things, the Sketch maps Condorcet's vision for a future society, which includes a commitment to grassroots democracy and also a commitment to science and reason.

Lindy argues that Condorcet's work has parallels with twenty-first century science communication theory in trying to achieve a balance between democracy and science. In particular, Condorcet believed the citizenry should decide what role science and reason should play in their society - just the 'Public Engagement with Science' (PES) model of science communication advocates.

Lindy also discusses parallels between earlier figures in the French Enlightenment and the 'Public Understanding of Science' (PUS) model of sci com.

Find the paper here.

Get your Condorcet hoodie, t-shirt, notebook, coffee mug, etc. - designed by Lindy - here.

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