Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de
Condorcet
b. Ribemont, France 17 September 1743
d. Bourg-la-Reine, France 29 March 1794
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Due to the publication of a mathematical memoir in
1765, Condorcet came to
the attention of scientists of France. He was elected as a member of
the
Academy of Sciences in 1769 eventually becoming its permanent
secretary.
Later he became a member also of the Académie Française.
Due
to his political activities after the French Revolution, particularly
the
publication of the pamphlet Avis aux français (A
Warning to
the French), a warrent was issued for his arrest on 8 July 1793. After
a
period of flight, Condorcet was arrested on 27 March in Clamart and
taken
to the prison in Bourg-la-Reine. He was found dead the next morning.
This
prompted the rumor that he had committed suicide.
Condorcet is best known for the
Essai
sur l'application de l'analyse à la probabilité des
décisions
rendues à la pluralité des voix, 1785. (At
Gallica.)
As for probability, there are the following:
- A memoir on the Theory of Probability consisting of six parts.
This was published in the Hist. de l'Acad...Paris. Todhunter's
assessment of these papers is that they are confused. We must agree.
- First Part:
"Réflexions sur la règle générale qui
prescrit de prendre pour valeur d'un évènement incertain,
la probabilité de cet évènement, multiplée
par la valeur de l'évènement en lui-même," Histoire
de l'Académie Royale... Paris 1781. pp. 707 -
720. This was read to the Academy on August 4, 1784. One
should note that Condorcet also remarks on the Petersburg Problem in
this part.
- Second Part:
"Application de l'analyse à cette question: Déterminer la
probabilité qu'un arrangement régulier est l'effet d'une
intention de la produire," Histoire de l'Académie Royale...
Paris 1781. pp. 720- 728. Parts 1 and 2.
This is related to the following:
Daniel Bernoulli's "Recherches
physiques et astronomiques sur le problème proposé pour
la second fois par l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Paris,"
Recueil des pieces qui ont remporté le prix de
l'Académie Royale des Sciences, T. 3, 1734.
Rev. John Michell's "An Inquiry into the probable Parallax, and
Magnitude of the fixed Stars, from the Quantity of Light which they
afford us, and the particular Circumstances of their Situation," Philosophical
Transactions, Vol. LVII. Part I, 1767, pp. 234-264.
- Third Part: "Sur
l'évaluation des Droits éventuels," Histoire de
l'Académie Royale... Paris 1782. pp. 674-691. Part 3. Here Condorcet examines the
evaluation of claims on property and of annuities.
- Fourth Part:
"Réflexions sur la méthode de déterminer la
Probabilité des évènemens futurs, d'après
l'Observation des évènemens passés," Histoire
de l'Académie Royale... Paris 1783 (1786). pp. 539-553.
- Fifth Part: "Sur
la probabilité des faits extraordinaires," Histoire de
l'Académie Royale... Paris 1783. pp. 553-559. Parts 4 and 5.
- Sixth Part:
"Application des principes de l'article précédent
à quelques questions de critique," Histoire de
l'Académie Royale... Paris 1784. pp. 454-468. Part 6. This section concerns the
testimony of witnesses. Of some small interest may be the work of
Isaac Newton, referenced by Condorcet, The
Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended published in 1728.
- The article Probabilités
in the Encyclopédie mèthodique:
Éléments du calcul des probabilités, art. 4.
- Élémens
du calcul des probabilités, et son application aux jeux de
hasard, a la loterie, et aux jugemens des hommes 1805. (At
Gallica)
This work is rather curious. It was published after the death of
Condorcet. The author of the introduction presents the text as a fourth
volume supplement to Euler's Lettres a une Princesse d'Allemagne.
The sections of the work are follows:
- (I) On the interest of money pp. 2- 31.
- (II) On a method to form some tables pp. 31 - 56
- (III) On the fundamental principal of the calculus of
probabilities pp. 56 - 79
- (IV) On the nature of truths to which the calculus of
probabilities is able to lead pp. 79 - 100
- (V) On the manner to compare among them some events of
different probabilities, and to find a mean value which can represent
the different values among them of unequally probable events (Included
here is a discussion of the Petersburg paradox) pp. 100 - 120
- (VI) Application of the calculus of probabilities to
questions where the probability is determined (Included here is a
discussion of the Lottery of France) pp. 121 - 145
- (VI) On the manner to establish some terms of comparison
among the different risks in which one can be delivered with prudence,
in the hope to obtain some advantages of a given value (Tables of
mortality) pp. 145 - 150
- (VII) On the application of probabilities to games of chance
pp. 150 - 170
- General Tables of the Sciences which have for object the
application of the calculus to the political and social sciences. pp.
171 - 210
Section 9 seems to have been reprinted from the Journal
d'instruction
social (22 June, 6 July 1795; Oeuvres I. 539-573). Here are
Sections 5- 8.
Encyclopedia Mèthodique
Three related articles by Condorcet were included in the
Encyclopedia Mèthodique.
These are Absent,
Probabilité
and
Substitutions. See
also
d'Alembert and
Diderot.
Population Estimates
Condorcet, du Séjour and Laplace
jointly engaged in an estimation of the population of France. The
result
of their work appeared in a series of six reports published in the
Mémoires de l'Académie
Royale
des Sciences of Paris in the years 1786 (pp. 703-718), 1787 (pp.
577-593),
1788 (pp. 661-689 and 703-717), 1789 (pp. 601-610) and 1791 (pp.
755-767).