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A central figure in the early years of the French Revolution, Nicolas de Condorcet (1743–94) was active as a mathematician, philosopher, politician and economist. He argued for the values of the Enlightenment, from religious toleration to the abolition of slavery, believing that society could be improved by the application of rational thought. In this essay, first published in 1785, Condorcet analyses mathematically the process of making majority decisions, and seeks methods to improve the likelihood of their success. The work was largely forgotten in the nineteenth century, while those who did comment on it tended to find the arguments obscure. In the second half of the twentieth century, however, it was rediscovered as a foundational work in the theory of voting and societal preferences. Condorcet presents several significant results, among which Condorcet's paradox (the non-transitivity of majority preferences) is now seen as the direct ancestor of Arrow's paradox.
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- Date Published: September 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108077996
- length: 504 pages
- dimensions: 244 x 170 x 26 mm
- weight: 0.8kg
- availability: Available
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