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Numbers Rule by George Szpiro

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CHAPTER SIX

THE MARQUIS

Scholarly debate in the French capital, with its newspapers, publishing houses, academies, and salon tradition, was always very lively. It was no different with Borda’s voting scheme. As could be expected, his proposal of assigning points, or m-units, to preferences did not go unchallenged. The challenger came in the form of a nobleman, who was Borda’s junior by ten years. His full name was MarieJean-Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet.

Born in 1743 in Ribemont, Condorcet was the only child of an ancient family of minor nobility. His father, a cavalry captain, was killed during a military exercise when Condorcet was only five weeks old. His mother, a fanatically religious woman, raised her son without any ...

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