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Preface

Authors:
On Abstract and Historical
Hypotheses and on Value
Judgments in Economic Sciences
Luigi Einaudi (1874–1961) was a leading liberal economist, economic historian
and political gure. This book provides the English-speaking world with a rst
critical edition of Einaudi’s – hitherto unpublished – rewriting of one of his most
unique and thoughtful essays.
The relevance of this essay is crucial from several perspectives: history and
methodology of economic thought, role of economics and its relation to other
disciplines and to social values, and role of economists in the public sphere, while
also encompassing the discourse on man and the economist as a “whole man”. The
critical edition of On Abstract and Historical Hypotheses and on Value Judgments
in Economic Sciences includes a comprehensive introduction and afterword. An
extensive reappraisal of this newly discovered essay will help to cast light on
Einaudi’s uniqueness and originality within and beyond the Italian tradition in
public nance, thereby also illuminating his attempt to provide an epistemologi-
cal account of his long-lasting enquiry into the causes of good and bad polities.
This book is of great interest to those who study economic theory and phi-
losophy, as well as history of economic thought, public economics and legal and
political philosophy.
Luigi Einaudi (1874–1961) was a leading liberal economist, journalist, economic
historian, one of the major representatives of the Italian tradition in public nance
and political gure: Governor of the Bank of Italy, Minister for the Budget and
President of the Italian Republic.
Paolo Silvestri is Research Fellow in Economics at the Department of Economics
and Statistics “Cognetti de Martiis”, University of Turin. He is also Habilitated
Associate Professor both in Philosophy of Law and Political Philosophy.
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180 A Historical Political Economy of Capitalism
After metaphysics
Andrea Micocci
181 Comparisons in Economic Thought
Economic interdependency reconsidered
Stavros A. Drakopoulos
182 Four Central Theories of the Market Economy
Conceptions, evolution and applications
Farhad Rassekh
183 Ricardo and the History of Japanese Economic Thought
A selection of Ricardo studies in Japan during the interwar period
Edited by Susumu Takenaga
184 The Theory of the Firm
An overview of the economic mainstream
Paul Walker
185 On Abstract and Historical Hypotheses and on Value
Judgments in Economic Sciences
Critical Edition, with an Introduction and Afterword
by Paolo Silvestri
Luigi Einaudi
Edited by Paolo Silvestri
186 The Origins of Neoliberalism
Insights from economics and philosophy
Giandomenica Becchio and Giovanni Leghissa
187 The Political Economy of Latin American Independence
Edited by Alexandre Mendes Cunha and Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak
Routledge Studies in the History of Economics
For a full list of titles in this series, please visit www.routledge.com/series/SE0341
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On Abstract and Historical
Hypotheses and on Value
Judgments in Economic
Sciences
Critical Edition, with an Introduction
and Afterword by Paolo Silvestri
Luigi Einaudi
Edited by Paolo Silvestri
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First published 2017
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
and by Routledge
711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa
business
© 2017 selection and editorial matter, Paolo Silvestri; individual chapters,
Luigi Einaudi
The right of Paolo Silvestri to be identied as the author of the editorial
material, and of Luigi Einaudi for his individual chapters, has been
asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988.
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Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or
registered trademarks, and are used only for identication and explanation
without intent to infringe.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Einaudi, Luigi, 1874-1961, author. | Silvestri, Paolo, 1974- editor.
Title: On abstract and historical hypotheses and on value-judgments in
economic sciences / Luigi Einaudi ; edited by Paolo Silvestri.
Description: Critical edition / with introduction and afterword by Paolo
Silvestri | Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2017. |
Includes bibliographical references.
Identiers: LCCN 2016017555 | ISBN 9780415517904 (hardback) |
ISBN 9781315637372 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Economics. | Economics—History
Classication: LCC HB71 .E34 2017 | DDC 330.01—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016017555
ISBN: 978-0-415-51790-4 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-315-45793-2 (ebk)
Typeset in Times New Roman
by Apex CoVantage, LLC
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Editorial foreword ix
Preface xxiv
Acknowledgements xxxiii
Abbreviations xxxv
Introduction: The defense of economic science and the
issue of value judgments 1
Luigi Einaudi: On abstract and historical hypotheses
and on value judgments in economic sciences 35
I Abstract hypotheses and historical hypotheses 37
II On some abstract hypotheses concerning the state and on
their historical value 49
III On value judgments in economic sciences 66
Bibliographical note 92
Afterword: Freedom and taxation between good and bad
polity and the economist-whole-man 94
Bibliography 137
Index 153
Contents
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Editorial foreword ix
1 Towards the second edition: On Einaudi’s intention
and the chronology of the rewriting x
2 Conjectures on the reasons for the failure to publish
the second version xiv
3   The abstract and the summary of the rst edition: The 
itinerary of Einaudi’s arguments xv
4 The major structural changes xviii
5 Notes on the rewriting process: The debate with his
correspondents xix
6 Editorial decisions xxi
Preface xxiv
1 Relevance and uniqueness of Einaudi’s essay xxiv
2 Structure of this critical edition xxix
Acknowledgements xxxiii
Abbreviations xxxv
Introduction: The defense of economic science and the issue
of value judgments 1
1 The economist in the public sphere: Between governors,
governed and lay public 1
1.1 The most remote antecedent of the present essay 3
2 The methodological position of the 1930s: In defense
of economic science 5
2.1 The re-reading of Robbins: Instrumental reasoning
and signicance of economic science  7
3 The debate with Fasiani (1938–1943): From Myths and
paradoxes of justice in taxation to the present essay 10
3.1 An overview: The demarcation issue 10
3.2 Counsels and theorems: Normative and theoretical
language and their reciprocal translatability 14
Detailed contents
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viii Detailed contents
3.3 Science and history and the (alleged) detachment of the
scholar 18
3.4 Abstract versus historical schemata of state 21
4 The turning point of the 1940s: The issue of value
judgments 22
4.1 Historicity of economics and the “passionate
economist” 22
4.2 The nearest antecedent of the present essay 24
4.3 The debate with Croce: Liberism and liberalism,
economics and philosophy 26
Luigi Einaudi: On abstract and historical hypotheses
and on value judgments in economic sciences 35
I Abstract hypotheses and historical hypotheses 37
II On some abstract hypotheses concerning the state
and on their historical value 49
III On value judgments in economic sciences 66
Bibliographical note 92
Afterword: Freedom and taxation between good and bad
polity and the economist-whole-man 94
1 The schemata of the state and the search for a liberal good
polity 94
1.1   Engaging with the Italian tradition in public nance: 
Within and beyond the economic approach 98
1.2 Hypotheses and schema: Theory, interpretation
and communication of historical reality 105
1.3 The anthropological background: The individual
and the collective 111
2 Excursus 116
3  Value judgments, economics, philosophy  117
3.1 The issue of value judgments 119
3.2 Economics, philosophy and the whole man 123
Bibliography 137
Index 153
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1 Relevance and uniqueness of Einaudi’s essay
Luigi Einaudi (1874–1961) was a leading liberal economist, journalist, economic
historian, the most prominent gure of the economic “School of Turin”, one of
the major representatives of the Italian tradition in scal theory and public nance
and a political gure: Governor of the Bank of Italy, Minister for the Budget and
President of the Italian Republic.3 Best known among scholars for his works on
public nance, his long-lasting and profound methodological speculation is still
today unknown. This book aims to provide the reader with a critical edition of
an unpublished rewriting of one of Einaudi’s most unique and thoughtful essays:
On Abstract and Historical Hypotheses and on Value Judgments in Economic
Sciences.
The relevance of this essay is crucial from (at least) three overlapping perspectives.
1) History and methodology of economic thought. The version of the essay
presented in this volume is a hitherto unpublished “historical document” which,
Einaudi intended, was to become the second edition of On Abstract and Historical
Hypotheses and on Value Judgments in Economic Sciences. The methodological
debate with Fasiani, which gave Einaudi the impetus to write the rst edition,
has also been considered as the methodological epilogue (Bellanca 1993, Fossati
2014b) of the Italian tradition in public nance. Nevertheless, Einaudi’s essay
fell into a strange and inexplicable oblivion. It regained the attention it deserved
following its inclusion in an anthological collection (E. 1973) published ahead of
the commemorations of the centenary of Einaudi’s birth. It then gradually became
recognized as his most important methodological investigation, though with very
different and even opposing interpretations.4
An extensive reappraisal of this unpublished version will help to reconsider
and cast new light on Einaudi’s position in the Italian tradition of public nance.
Such a tradition is best known for its interdisciplinary approach and catallactical
orientation for having brought the political process within the analytical scope of
economics and public nance and for its inuence on Buchanan and the public
choice approach.5 On the other hand, it is not so well known with regard to the
intense and long-lasting methodological debate among its scholars.6 This unpub-
lished essay, therefore, represents an opportunity to reassess Einaudi’s uniqueness
and originality within and beyond this tradition.
Preface
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Preface xxv
2) Role of economics and the role of economists. Relation of economics to other
disciplines and to social values. The present essay is a profound rewriting of the
rst edition a rewriting which, as such, testies to Einaudi’s awareness of the
importance as well as the great complexity and difculty of the problems he was
endeavoring to solve. For such problems extended far beyond methodological
questions to the point of calling into question the role of economics and the role
of economists, as well as the relation of economics to other disciplines and to
social values. From this perspective, it is no coincidence that Einaudi had sought
to prompt interdisciplinary debate not only with economists and epistemologues
but also with legal and political philosophers: Gioele Solari, Alessandro Passerin
d’Entrèves, Giuseppe Bruguier Pacini and Antonio Giolitti.
Although this essay is not Einaudi’s last methodological work, it may not be an
exaggeration to describe it as his “personal summa” not only by virtue of the breadth
of its enquiry and the intricate web of themes addressed but also for more precise
reasons: a) it was a nal effort to clarify and address, in greater depth, the positions
Einaudi had put forward in the book he most greatly cherished, MPJT (E. 1938b),
particularly in the last two chapters added to the 1940 edition; in turn, these chapters
were partly the fruit of discussions with his pupil Fasiani (Fossati, Silvestri 2012),
which ultimately led him to give a more explicit rendering of his vision of liberalism
and good government; b) it was conceived as a “nal” reworking of the methodo-
logical reections he had developed in the 1930s during the fascist era, which he
had partly intended as a defense of economic science, where a decisive role was also
played by a re-reading of Robbins and, above all, by the long debate with Croce on
the relation between liberism and liberalism, which prompted him to undertake a
more profound study of the interplay between economic science and philosophy,
also with due attention to the comments and critiques by his interlocutors; and
c) because it has an almost autobiographical character, at times assuming the features
of “the confessions of an economist”. For all these reasons, this essay can indeed be
considered a unique work, not easily classiable in the context of Einaudi’s scien-
tic production and, as noted, not easily reducible to a mere methodological work.
The polemic with his pupil Fasiani that sparked the rst edition of this essay, as
also the lively exchange of ideas observable in the correspondence with the afore-
mentioned scholars and the subsequent rewriting offered the contingent occasion
for Einaudi to dwell in greater depth on questions that had long troubled him,
above all, since the 1930s. The issues analyzed here by Einaudi lie at the core of
his reection on the nature and scope of economic sciences and the role played
by economists in the public sphere rst and foremost, by Einaudi himself as
an economist-columnist – with particular emphasis on the interaction between
economists and the ruling class. Written at the end of a prolonged speculation dur-
ing which Einaudi addressed a wide range of issues and engaged in far-reaching
debates with critics, scholars and pupils, this work represents Einaudi’s most com-
prehensive effort to tackle, overcome and rethink, in a unitary framework, issues
and dichotomies on which he had meditated for many years: theory and history,
induction and deduction, theorems and counsels, theory and practice, theoretical
and normative language, facts and values, is and ought, homo oeconomicus and
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xxvi Preface
homo politicus, reason and passions, knowing and wanting, science and faith,
true and good, liberism and liberalism, means and ends, abstraction and reality,
economics and philosophy and – last but not least – the preaching of economic
science as a science for “good government”.
3) An anthropological perspective, or discourse on the human. Although every
term of each of the aforementioned dichotomies would deserve a monographic
study in its own right, it is symptomatic that Einaudi often tended to treat such
dichotomies within the question of the alleged distinction between the economist
qua economist and the “whole man”. This was one of the main issues at the origin
of the rewriting process and on which Einaudi reected till his spiritual testament,
Politicians and Economists (E. 1962).
These three perspectives lead us to a preliminary assessment of the uniqueness
of this essay and the meaning of methodological reection for Einaudi.
The assessment of this essay as an unicum in Einaudi’s scientic production is
based on three major considerations: a) although methodological reections can
be found scattered throughout his works, Einaudi was not, in the strict sense, a
methodologist or a philosopher of economic science, at least in the sense we can
attribute to such terms today;7 b) never before, and never again after this essay,
did Einaudi attempt such a far-reaching revision of his (not only) methodological
speculation; and c) never to such an extent, and never again thereafter, did Einaudi
touch on questions of such profound impact from a philosophical, legal, political
and economic perspective to the point that the present essay is also the only essay
in which Einaudi tried to formulate an epistemological account and justication
of his long-lasting enquiry into the causes of good/bad societies and good/bad
governments and prosperous and decadent societies, here renamed “state” and
“non-state”.
Einaudi was well aware that the various methodological debates and recon-
siderations of the late 1930s had led him into a philosophical sphere which was
challenging and complex, in many ways new to him, and he felt less condent of
his ground.
I have always been afraid of making statements that seem preposterous from
a logical point of view, or of revealing my ignorance of things that are com-
mon knowledge to philosophers. I am obliged to address problems in the way
they would be dealt with by a person who develops his own arguments, self-
taught and listening in to things he would like to get to know.
(Lett.: E. to Passerin d’Entrèves, May 7, 1940)
Such were the words Einaudi wrote, candidly or perhaps with an understate-
ment, in a letter to d’Entrèves, whom he asked for advice and criticism on both the
two nal chapters added to the second edition of MPJT – which are crucial for an
understanding of the present essay – and the section of Doubts and Queries that
he began to include, starting from the same year, as an appendix to his Principii
di scienza della nanza [Principles of Public Finance] (1940b [1945]): this was a
sort of careful study plan for students who were preparing for their examinations,
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Preface xxvii
which, however, should also be read as a complement to the present essay. Years
later, such words were also recalled by d’Entrèves as an ‘admirable lesson of
humility and modesty’ (Passerin d’Entrèves 1971: 453).
What is certain is that during those years of intense thought and reworking of
his ideas that led him to write the present essay, methodological reection had
become the line of enquiry he cherished ‘most dearly’, and those Doubts and Que-
ries had almost turned into his own doubts and queries. As he wrote in the Notes
to the Reader that appeared with the reprinting of the fourth edition of Principii di
scienza della nanza (1948), Einaudi explained the importance and the spirit (now
no longer didactic) that underlay the questions raised in the Doubts and Queries:
I have not lost – or so I hope – my curiosity in new ideas and the desire
to modify my old ideas by listening to the fresh voices of so many young
scholars; what I lack is the time needed for meditation and re-elaboration, the
latter necessarily being slow and laborious. I have grown strongly attached to
this book, particularly the bibliographical part and the ‘Doubts and Queries’
section: indeed, this is the one I have come to hold most dear, as happens to
those who, as age approaches, become more and more convinced that wis-
dom consists in awareness of the too many things that escape our knowledge.
It is my hope that this work will, even now, prove to be of some advantage to
young people seeking to discover which problems have been deemed worthy
of study by an elderly man who, for close to half a century, has been at pains
never to forget that he always needs to clarify his own ideas to himself before
expounding them to others.
(E. 1948)
In Einaudi’s approach, methodological reection was never an end in itself.
Rather, if an explanation is sought for its elevation to the status of the aspect of his
reection he cherished ‘most dearly’, then the answer is to be found in his aware-
ness that it had become a vital aspect of his identity as an economist, teacher,
opinion maker and liberal thinker. Hence the need to ‘clarify his own ideas to
himself before expounding them to others’. It is no coincidence that his reection
was always prompted by debates that compelled him, on numerous occasions,
to search for or redene the boundaries and the premises of economic science
and, accordingly, to spell out his own role as an economist in the public sphere,
where he acted as the repository of this knowledge, in the name of which he
spoke. Without a clear understanding of this crucial theme, it is difcult not only
to understand Einaudi’s doubts on the issue of value judgments and his effort to
keep together the economist qua economist and the (economist as a) whole man,
but also to gain a clear idea of the meaning of this essay and its position in overall
Einaudian reection and scientic production.
A clue to the inner torment that prompted the methodological reection of those
years can be perceived in the article Confessioni di un Economista [Confessions
of an Economists] (E. 1917). It can be described as a review essay on the work
by William Smart, Second Thought of an Economist (1916), which Einaudi had
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xxviii Preface
signicantly interpreted as Confessioni and decided to republish it as the opening
essay of the volume of his Complete Works of which the present essay represented
the conclusion (see the Editorial Foreword). This was very clearly a re-reading
and reinterpretation of himself, since the essay in question had been written many
years prior to the methodological reection of the 1930s and ’40s. Here Einaudi is
seemingly talking about Smart, but implicitly he is speaking about himself.
These pages of Smart’s are highly personal and very revealing [. . .]; they
implicitly allow us a glimpse into a confession of his scientic doubts, into
his effort to look beyond the hedge of the garden reserved to the economist,
so as to see what is happening in the vast world and how economic problems
are linked to moral and religious problems, and to the very question of the
ends for which life is worth living.
(E. 1917)
Another clue to the inner torment that led to the present essay can be found in
the statement, or rather a different kind of confession, contained in this same essay:
There exists no plausible reason for setting the boundaries of any scientic ter-
ritory according to one line rather than another, there may be someone whose
curiosity is aroused by a different range of phenomena. Thus an inquiring
mind little swayed by any urge to take up a position in this or that particular
column of the table of scientic classications may quite legitimately study
the links between ends and choices, if for no other reason than to investigate
whether by consecrating himself to a particular science he might not be per-
forming a sacrice to an idol devoid of soul.
(p. 85)
As a humanist-economist, and perhaps one of the last humanist-economists with
a legal education and background, Einaudi had always ‘proudly claimed’ economics
as a moral science or a ‘humanistic discipline’ (E. 1959: IX), as he repeated till the
end of his life. The judgement he gave on Adam Smith’s three souls – ‘moralist,
historian and economist’, the three souls which addressed the same problem,
though from different perspectives and/or in different moments (E. 1938a) –
can rightly be addressed to Einaudi himself (Forte, Marchionatti 2012: 620). To
put it another way: if for Adam Smith political economy was the ‘science of a
statesman or legislator’ (Smith 1776 [1976]: 428), for Einaudi, the “economic
sciences” – evoked in the title of the present essay: mainly political economy and
the “Scienzadelle nanze – were the sciences of good/bad society and good/bad
government.
For these reasons, Einaudi’s “methodological” speculation cannot be separated
from his liberalism, just as his liberalism cannot be separated from his enquiry into
the causes of good and bad polities.8 With such an enquiry Einaudi, as humanist-
economist and “whole man”, went well ‘beyond the hedge of the garden reserved
to the economist’.
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Preface xxix
2 Structure of this critical edition
The present critical edition is formed of three parts: the Introduction, Einaudi’s
essay, followed by his (incomplete) Bibliographical Note, and the Afterword.
Although, naturally, no introduction or afterword can ever substitute a direct read-
ing of Einaudi’s text, both the Introduction and the Afterword aim to provide
readers with some possible suggestions for an interpretation or access to the text
by highlighting the main problems, the reections and discussions that led Ein-
audi, rstly, to compose the rst edition and then to decide to rewrite it as it is in
the present essay. In particular, the Introduction is mainly focused on the thought
process that led Einaudi to the present essay, while the Afterword seeks to offer an
in-depth appraisal of some of the passages that are characterized by greater com-
plexity and/or which were rewritten in various ways by Einaudi – namely those
belonging to part II and III of the present essay.
The main purpose of both the Introduction and Afterword is to provide the
reader with a meaningful account of Einaudi’s essay, but also to make it compre-
hensible to an international public and to all those who may be unacquainted with
his thought.9 However, Einaudi’s essay could reserve a few surprises even for
those already acquainted with his thought and/or with the Italian tradition in pub-
lic nance and for those interested in philosophy of economics, law and politics.
This notwithstanding, my work makes no claim to give an exhaustive account
of the complexity of the problems Einaudi treated, nor to treat them systematically
or give a step-by-step commentary on the way his arguments are set out. Rather,
and this should be emphasized, it seeks merely to highlight some of the passages
that readers could nd somewhat complex, if not genuinely obscure because of
the many implicit references to Einaudi’s earlier reections that are scattered
throughout the essay, or because of his allusive style,10 or because of the dubita-
tive way through which he presented the rewriting of the conclusions.
The Introduction, ‘The Defense of Economic Science and the Issue of Value
Judgments’, aims primarily at understanding how Einaudi’s position evolved from
the 1930s to the beginning of the 1940s and how the debate with Fasiani had an
impact on Einaudi’s second thoughts regarding the position he had held in those
years. The Introduction is organized as follows. After a brief overview of some of
the main concerns and thoughts that led Einaudi to the present essay, which can
be traced back to his position (and conception) of economist in the public sphere
(par. 1), I will try to contextualize the entire evolution of his thought within two
signicant limits: the most remote (par. 1.1) and the nearest (par. 4.2) antecedent
of the present essay. In turn, the starting point of the debate with Fasiani will be
contextualized within the methodological reections of the 1930s, with specic
reference to the methodological discourse in defense of the economics Einaudi
had adopted during those years (par. 2), where his re-reading of Robbins (par. 2.1)
is particularly important. The debate with Fasiani, from Myths and Paradoxes
of Justice in Taxation to the present essay, is then analyzed (par. 3). I will rst
provide the reader with an overview of this debate, with specic reference to the
demarcation issue (par. 3.1), and then I will analytically subdivide its main issues
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xxx Preface
as follows: the demarcation between counsels and theorems, theoretical and nor-
mative language and the issue of their reciprocal translatability (par. 3.2); the
distinction between science and history and the supposed detached or dispassion-
ate knowledge of the economist (par. 3.3); and the epistemological nature of the
types of state used by Fasiani as compared to the “historical” schemata of good/
bad polities used by Einaudi (par. 3.4). In the last paragraph, I will then analyze
the most signicant steps and turning points of the 1940s (par. 4). Among these,
I will take into account Einaudi’s reection on the historicity of economics and
the “passionate economist” (par. 4.1); the nearest antecedent of the present essay,
which contains Einaudi’s explicit confession of his second thoughts as to the issue
of value judgments (par. 4.2); and, last but not least, the epistemological aspects
of the debate with Croce on the relation between liberalism and liberism, as well
as the debate between Einaudi and his interlocutors, in order to cast light on the
rewriting of the conclusions of the present essay, thus on Einaudi’s intention to
focus on the distinction between philosophy and economics (par. 4.3).
The Afterword, ‘Freedom and Taxation between Good and Bad Polity and the
Economist-Whole-Man’, aims to provide the reader with a perspective designed
to illuminate the meaning of the complex rewriting and passages of part II and III
of the present essay. It is organized as follows. After a brief overview of the telos
and argumentative strategy adopted by Einaudi in his reection on the schemata
of the state developed in part II, and led by his search for a liberal good polity
(par. 1), I will mainly focus on Einaudi’s way of engaging with the Italian tradi-
tion in public nance. I will start from the reections developed in MPJT that led
to the present essay, focusing on his attempt to go beyond the so-called economic
approach to public nance and taxation (par. 1.1). I will then try to cast light on
Einaudi’s concern about Fasiani’s hypotheses of state, with specic reference to
the relation between theory, interpretation and communication of historical real-
ity (par. 1.2). I will then focus on the fundamental anthropological background of
the ‘dialectical contrast between the state and the non-state’. This anthropologi-
cal background, in turn, sheds light on Einaudi’s attempt to consider the relation
between the individual and the collective community in dual and non-dualistic
terms (par. 1.3). The subsequent paragraph is a brief excursus on Einaudi’s pref-
ace to the 1959 edition of MPJT, which can shed a retrospective light both on the
second and third part of the present essay, since it is an admirable reinterpretation
and synthesis of some of the ideas that prompted his enquiry into the causes of
good and bad polities (par. 2). The last paragraph is mainly focused on part III of
the present essay and the rewriting of the conclusions, where the issue of value
judgments is further developed by Einaudi through a reection on the distinc-
tion between philosophy and economics (par. 3). Starting from Einaudi’s general
claim of the conventional nature of the division among disciplines, I will try to
distinguish his arguments and doubts analytically into two main topics: the issue
of value judgments, which I will further subdivide into the issue of taking a stand
and the difculty of separating the study of means from the understanding of ends
(par. 3.1), and Einaudi’s attempt to clarify both the distinction between economics
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Preface xxxi
and philosophy, and the alleged separation between the economist qua scientist
and the whole man (par. 3.2).
Notes
1 More specically, Gioele Solari, a philosopher of law, was a friend and colleague of
Einaudi’s at the Faculty of Law in Turin who, like Einaudi, had completed his training
at the “Laboratorio di Economia politica” headed by Salvatore Cognetti de Martiis (see
E. 1949c and Solari 2006). Both Einaudi and Solari were the leading academic gures
whose guidance and teaching shaped many members of the intellectual elite of Turin
and Italy. Alessandro Passerin d’Entrèves, a political and legal philosopher, wrote his
dissertation under the guidance of Solari and was helped by Einaudi in his academic
career both in Italy and abroad (with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation); he
eventually went to Oxford. He paid a last homage to Einaudi in the concluding chapter
of one of his most successful books (Passerin d’Entrèves 1962). Giuseppe Bruguier
Pacini, a pupil of Giuseppe Toniolo, was interested in history and the epistemology of
economics, and he was also a junior assistant of Einaudi’s at the Bocconi University as
well as one of Einaudi’s most insightful reviewers. Inuenced by Italian idealism and
Benedetto Croce’s historicism and engaged in an attempt to revise the epistemological
“conclusion” of the Methodenstreit, Pacini was also the Italian translator and editor of
some of the most important economic and epistemological works of the period: those
of Menger, Schumpeter and Myrdal. Also, Pacini depicted one of the best portraits of
Luigi Einaudi as ‘moralist’ (Bruguier Pacini 1950). Antonio Giolitti, grandson of the
statesman Giovanni Giolitti and an important Italian politician, was at that time work-
ing with the publishing house directed by Giulio Einaudi; he was also the translator of
the rst Italian edition of Max Weber’s Science as a Vocation and Politics as a Voca-
tion and the Italian translator of Cantillon and Röpke.
2 A word of warning is called for to alert readers to a crucial difculty in the attempt to
understand how Einaudi reworked the various points that arose during this exchange
of ideas and how he incorporated them into the present essay. Namely, we do not have
a textual testimony of Einaudi’s detailed comments on the debate, which he would
surely have included in the Bibliographical Note he planned to set at the end of the vol-
ume in which the present essay was to be included. Such comments would most likely
have been devoted to explaining the profound changes and additions introduced in the
conclusions of the present essay, especially given the fact that Einaudi decided to keep
track of the conclusions eliminated from the rst edition by quoting them precisely in
this Bibliographical Note.
The only document that has come down to us is a small sheet of paper on which
Einaudi jotted down a few sentences summarizing the comments made by his corre-
spondents. Even though Einaudi’s short annotations do not list all of the modications
he introduced during the rewriting process – for instance, the fundamental terminologi-
cal changes introduced in the rst part, mainly spurred by Bruguier Pacini – one may
surmise that his jottings were meant to serve as an outline for further comments on the
discussion, which he planned to include in the Bibliographical Note. It is likely that
such comments would have focused on the most important changes that is to say,
those introduced in the second part and in the conclusions.
3 The most comprehensive biography of Einaudi is that by Faucci (1986), but see also
the more recent biography by Farese (2012). On the economic School of Turin, see the
essays collected in Marchionatti, Becchio (2003–2004). For a general introduction
to Einaudi’s economic, political and legal thought see: Einaudi, Faucci, Marchionatti
(2006), Forte, Marchionatti (2009), Silvestri (2012a). Among the many monographic
works see: Forte (1982, 2009), Giordano (2006), Silvestri (2008a), Tomatis (2011).
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xxxii Preface
For a recent overall reappraisal of Einaudi’s thought, see the essays collected in Giglio-
bianco (2010), Heritier, Silvestri (2012a) and Marchionatti, Soddu (2010).
4 Among them see Barucci (1974), Forte (2009: 137–142), Forte, Marchionatti (2012:
593–595), Fusco (2009), Portinaro (1979), Romeo (1974), Silvestri (2008a: 87–122,
2010a), Fossati (2015).
5 See Buchanan (1960), Kayaalp (1985, 1989, 2004), Musgrave, Peacock (1958b),
Backhaus, Wagner (2005a, 2005b), Fausto (2003), the essays in Fausto, De Bonis
(2003), Medema (2005), Wagner (2003).
6 See Bellanca (1993).
7 The current philosophy of economics is usually subdivided into 1) action theory,
2) ethics (or normative social and political philosophy) and 3) philosophy of science
(Hausman 2013), or (to consider a slightly different division) 1) political economy as
political philosophy, 2) the methodology and epistemology of economics, 3) social
ontology and the ontology of economics (Davis, Marciano, Runde 2004). On “new
directions” in philosophy of economics, see Binder, Heilmann, Vromen (2015) and
Ross, Kincaid (2009). Although all three of these dimensions are present in Einaudi’s
“philosophy of economics”, especially in the present essay, his “philosophy” as well
as his language and style are much closer to “continental” philosophy than “analytic”.
8 It may be that Buchanan’s conclusive argument on the Italian tradition in public
nance – ‘no reforming spirit has guided the Italians. This has made their arguments
seem sterile and devoid of normative content. The normative elements which are
present are usually clouded over, perhaps unintentionally, with pseudo-scientic pro-
nouncements’ (Buchanan 1960: 72) – has not helped develop an appropriate evalu-
ation of Einaudi’s methodological reection, which Buchanan was probably not
familiar with. In actual fact, in the present essay, Einaudi’s claims exactly the contrary
of Buchanan’s dismissive statement. Quite curiously, Einaudi’s conclusions are very
similar to what Buchanan has recently argued – in contrast to the lesson of “political
realism” (Buchanan, Musgrave 1999: 19) that he claimed to have learned from the
Italian tradition – on the “normativity of vision”, apropos of his liberal credo, which he
expressed in terms of the soul of classical liberalism: ‘I suggest invoking the soul of
classical liberalism, an aesthetic-ethical-ideological potential attractor, one that stands
independent of ordinary science, both below the latter’s rigor and above its antisep-
tic neutrality’ (Buchanan 2000 [2005]: 55). Through his epistemological reections,
Einaudi increasingly felt and feared that the science to which he had devoted his life
was becoming an ‘idol devoid of soul’. Buchanan’s ‘vision’ seems to be similar to the
kind of “vision” Einaudi rediscovered, in the later period of his life, in Ambrogio Lor-
enzetti’s celebrated frescoes on good government, which he pointed out to Italians, as
President of the Italian Republic (E. 1954). In Buchanan’s words, Lorenzetti’s frescoes
are ‘an aesthetic-ethical-ideological potential attractor’ in which Einaudi had “seen”,
in a condensed and allusive form, the invisible foundations (civic virtues, social bond,
social capital, trust) of his liberal good polity (Silvestri 2012b).
9 Until not long ago, relatively few of Einaudi’s essays were available in an English
translation, and only the recent edition of Selected Essays in three volumes (E. 2006,
2014a, 2014b) has begun to bridge this cognitive gap.
10 The essay was originally read in its rst version at the Royal Academy of Science of
Turin (where Einaudi as well as Fasiani were members) and probably presented away
from the prying eyes of fascism, especially in the light of the far-from-implicit charges
against ‘the Emperor’s advocate’ (p. 78). It would seem, anyway, that Einaudi’s essay
was addressed to a select public that could be assumed to have familiarity with his
scientic production.
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As this work draws to its close, I am aware that I owe many, too many, debts. Yet
they are indeed those kinds of debts with regard to which it can be said, anthropo-
logically speaking, that one is delighted to have contracted.
I will limit myself here to expressing gratitude to those who in the past few years
have most greatly contributed to the success of this work with their support and/
or with debate and criticisms that never failed to be constructive: Paolo Heritier,
for many, by now innumerable, reasons; Luigi Roberto Einaudi, towards whom
I can no longer nd the words to express my innite gratitude and to whom I owe
special thanks for releasing the rights to this work of Einaudi’s; Roberto Mar-
chionatti for the many years during which I have been able to enjoy stimulating
discussion on the thought of Einaudi and for countless other reasons; Francesco
Forte for always being a source of suggestions and valuable advice on Einaudi but
also on Fasiani; Fiorenzo Mornati for helping me to clarify some of my doubts
concerning the thought of Pareto. I am particularly grateful to A.F. for reading and
commenting on parts of the very rst draft and the nal version of this work;
Nicolò Bellanca for helping me to clarify some methodological aspects of the Ital-
ian tradition in public nance; the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi for authorizing me to
work on this text by Einaudi; Paolo Soddu, who is in charge of cultural affairs at
the Fondazione Einaudi, for having had faith, since the very beginning, in the sig-
nicance of this Einaudian essay; Guido Mones, who is in charge of the Archive
of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi of Turin, for his constant assistance and always
being helpful and willing; and the San Giacomo Charitable Foundation and the
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo for contributing to the translation costs.
Small portions of the research and/or working papers directly or indirectly
related to the development of this work have been presented and discussed in
various institutions and moments, universities, research centers, conferences and
seminars, as well as during visiting periods abroad, including the Research Center
on History and Methodology of Economics, Department of Economics and Sta-
tistics “Cognetti de Martiis” (University of Torino); the Centre Walras-Pareto
d’études interdisciplinaires de la pensée économique et politique (University of
Lausanne); the Cornell Institute for European Studies, the Mario Einaudi Center
and the Cornell Law School (Cornell University); and the yearly Conferences of
the Italian Association for the History of Political Economy (STOREP).
Acknowledgements
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xxxiv Acknowledgements
This work was brought to completion during my research stay as external Sen-
ior Fellow at Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), University of
Freiburg, Germany, and then at the London School of Economics, Department
of Government (UK) thanks to the grant World Wide Style II from the Univer-
sity of Torino, which I thank for its nancial support. In this regard, I would like
to remember and thank the representatives of these institutions and/or academic
hosts for having invited me and all those who have given me the opportunity
to share part of my research with them: Roberto Marchionatti, Roberto Baran-
zini, Christopher Way, Annelise Riles and Hirokazu Miyazaki, Viktor Vanberg,
Lars Feld, Bernd Kortmann, Günther Schulze, Lea Ypi and Chandran Kukathas.
A heartfelt thanks goes to all the participants and discussants from whom I have
always received insightful comments and constructive critiques.
A word of thanks also to Rachel Barritt Costa for performing the difcult task
of translating Einaudi’s text and reviewing parts of my Introduction and After-
word with her ceaseless endeavor to transmit to the English-speaking world the
innite nuances and subtleties of Einaudi’s “voice” and language and for exercis-
ing forbearance, in a constant and patient dialogue, with my punctilious revisions.
Finally, a truly special expression of thanks to Routledge (and to the two anony-
mous and generous reviewers) for accepting the proposal for publication; to the
editor, Emily Kindleysides; and the editorial assistant, Laura Johnson, for follow-
ing the various stages of the publication process with constant attention, innite
patience and humane comprehension.
I would strongly have wished that this could be considered as the denitive edi-
tion of On Abstract and Historical Hypotheses and on Value Judgments in Eco-
nomic Sciences. If, by a stroke of luck, I were to chance upon the overall design of
the collection of Einaudian essays and the other revised versions Einaudi intended
to incorporate in the collection together with the present essay, I express the sin-
cere hope that Routledge would decide to publish all of them in a second and
denitive edition. “Denitive”, unless, that is, history happened to introduce yet
another twist in this chain of events and reserve for me new compelling surprises.
I wish to dedicate my work to my father and mother from whom I have learned
that ‘faith, hope and love’ resist till the end, and survive to the end. And to Elena,
from whom I have learned that ‘the greatest of these is love’ and to whom I owe
the greatest debt of all.
Paolo Silvestri
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§ [number] = the old numbering of sections (1–27) used by Einaudi in the
rst edition and maintained in the present essay to facilitate
generic references to parts/sections of the text.
Afterword = Afterword to the present volume: P. Silvestri, ‘Freedom and
Taxation between Good and Bad Polity and the Economist-
Whole-Man’.
COP = Chiarimenti  offerti  al  losofo [Clarications  Offered  to  the 
Philosopher]. Sheets sent by Einaudi to his correspondents
during the rewriting process (in Archivio Luigi Einaudi of
the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi of Turin).
DVE = Dubbi posti all’economista [Doubts Voiced to the Econo-
mist]. Sheets sent by Einaudi to his correspondents during
the rewriting process (in Archivio Luigi Einaudi of the Fon-
dazione Luigi Einaudi of Turin).
E. = Einaudi.
rst edition = First edition of On Abstract and Historical Hypotheses and
on Value Judgments in Economic Sciences (E. 1942–1943).
Introduction = Introduction to the present volume: P. Silvestri, ‘The Defense
of Economic Science and the Issue of Value Judgments’.
ISS = Individuo, società, stato [Individual, Society, State]. Sheets
sent by Einaudi to Gioele Solari during the rewriting process
(in Archivio Luigi Einaudi of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi
of Turin).
lett. = letter. Unless otherwise stated, all the letters of Einaudi’s
correspondence cited in the text are taken from the Archivio
Luigi Einaudi of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi of Turin and
will be quoted with the following format: Lett.: [from] “Sur-
name” to “Surname”, date of the letter.
MPJT = Myths and Paradoxes of Justice in Taxation. The rst edition
of MPJT is E. 1938, the second modied and expanded edi-
tion is E. 1940a, and the third, with a new preface, is E. 1959.
Unless otherwise stated, the reference edition is E. 1940a.
p./pp. = page/pages of the present essay cited in the Introduction and
Afterword.
Abbreviations
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xxxvi Abbreviations
par. [number] = reference to a paragraph of the Introduction or Afterword to
the present volume.
present essay = Second and unpublished edition of On Abstract and Histori-
cal Hypotheses and on Value Judgments in Economic Sci-
ences published here.
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Albert, G. 12, 122
Albertini, L. 29
Allingham, M.G. 130
Alm, J. 130
Andreoni, J. 130
Anspach, M. 132
Backhaus, J.G. xxxii
Backhouse, R.E. 32
Bafgi, A. 31, 136
Baranzini, R. xxxiv, 31
Barone, E. 58
Bastiat, F. 91
Becchio, G. xxxi, 32
Becker, G. 130
Bellanca, N. xxiv, xxxii, xxxiii, 10, 94
Benda, J. 29
Besley, T. 129
Binder, C. xxxii
Blaug, M. 31
Bobbio, N. 31, 129, 135
Boccaccio, M. 129
Boland, L. 31
Borgatta, G. 129
Boswell, J. 47
Bowles, S. 130
Bresciani Turroni, C. 24
Bridel, P. 31
Bruguier Pacini, G. x, xix, xx, xxii, xxv,
xxxi, 8, 9, 28, 112, 118
Bruni, L. 12, 31, 131, 136
Buchanan, J.M. xxiv, xxxii, 130, 132
Busino, G. 31, 136
Cabiati, A. 22 – 3
Caesar, Julius 41
Cairnes, J.E. 42
Caldwell, B. 31
Cantillon, R. xvi, 42, 73, 74
Index
Cassata, F. 32
Castro Caldas, J. 30
Cavalieri, D. 29
Cournot, A. 44
Cowell, F. 30
Cox, J.C. 130
Croce, B. viii, xxi, xxv, xxx, xxxi, 6, 8 – 10,
14, 22 – 3, 26 – 9, 32 – 3, 119, 124 – 5,
127 – 8, 135 – 6
Cullis, J.G. 130
Da Empoli, D. 132
Dasgupta, P. 136
D’Auria, M. 32
Davis, J.B. xxxii, 31
De Bonis, V. xxxii, 129
Della Valle, V. 17, 32
Del Vecchio, G. 6 – 7, 9
de Marchi, N. 31
De Viti de Marco, A. xvi, xx, 13, 19, 30,
49, 94 – 100, 103 – 5, 107, 111, 116,
129 – 30
Dudley-Evans, A. 32
Dupuy, J.-P. 135
Einaudi, G. xi, xxxi
Einaudi, L.R. xxxiii, 113
Einaudi, M. 135
Eusepi, G. 129
Farese, G. xxxi
Faucci, R. xxxi, 3, 29, 31, 33, 104, 136
Fausto, D. 94
Fedeli, S. 132
Fehr, E. 130
Feld, L.P. xxxiv, 130
Ferrara, F. 3, 15, 29
Fiori, S. 32
Fleetwood, S. 134
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154 Index
Forbes, D. 134
Forte, F. xxviii, xxxii, 18, 29, 32, 33,
100, 103, 122, 129 – 30
Fossati, A. xxiv, 5, 10, 12 – 14, 29 – 31, 129
Frey, B.S. 130
Friedman, M. 134
Fusco, A.M. xxxii
Gächter, S. 130
Gambino, E. 31
Garofalo, G. 129
Gellner, E. 29
Gintis, H. 130
Giolitti, A. x, xi, xix, xxii, xxv, xxxi, 28
Giordano, A. xxxi
Giurato, L. 130
Gobetti, P. 115
Gossen, H.H. xvi, 42, 73 – 4
Granovetter, M. 132
Griziotti, B. 10
Hamlin, A. 129
Hausman, D.M. xxxii, 31, 135
Hayek, F.A.v. 23, 25, 32, 131
Heilmann, C. xxxii
Henderson, W. 32
Henry IV 51 – 2, 103
Heritier, P. xxxii, xxxiii, 31, 113 – 14, 129,
131 – 2, 135
Hume, D. 2, 103
Jannacone, P. 14, 31
Jevons, W.S. 45, 73
Kant, I. 28, 135
Kayaalp, O. xxxii
Keynes, J.M. 6, 10, 29
Kimball, R. 29
Kincaid, H. xxxii
Kortmann, B. xxxiv
Kukathas, C. xxxiv
Lawson, T. 134
Leoni, B. 131
Le Play, F. xiii, 22, 91, 115, 131
Lewis, A. 130
Liberati, P. 130
Louis XIV 52, 60
Louis XV 55
Louis XVI 55
Mach, E. 136
Machlup, F. 31, 135
MacKenzie, D. 134
Madison, J. 135
Magnani, I. 31
Mäki, U. 134
Marchionatti, R. xxviii, xxxi – xxxiv,
18, 29, 31 – 2, 122, 129
Marciano, A. xxxii
Marshall, A. 29, 39, 73
Marx, K. 27, 92
Masini, F. 30, 32
Mauss, M. 131
McClelland, G.H. 130
McCloskey, D. 32, 134, 135
McLure, M. 31
McPherson, M.S. 135
Meacci, F. 134
Medema, S. xxxii, 129
Medici 52
Michels, R. 6
Mill, J.S. 29, 31, 113
Mises, L.v. 23
Miyazaki, H. xxxiv
Mongin, P. 12
Montesano, A. 12, 136
More, T. 61
Morelli, U. 32
Mornati, F. 32
Muniesa, F. 134
Murphy, L. 136
Musgrave, R.A. xxxii, 130
Myrdal, K.G. xxxi, 126
Nagel, T. 136
Napoleon I 41, 55
Neves, V. 30
Oates, W.E. 132
Oddenino, A. 32
Offutt, S. 135
Pantaleoni, M. 1, 2, 31, 38, 47, 100
Paradiso, M. 130, 132
Pareto, V. xv, xxxiii, 1, 2, 5, 9, 11 – 12,
14 – 17, 19, 23, 26 – 7, 29 – 32, 38 – 42, 48,
71, 73 – 4, 118, 119, 122 – 5, 130, 136
Pascal, B. 91, 127 – 8
Passerin d’Entrèves, A. x, xix, xxvi,
xxvii, xxxi, 8, 23, 28, 31, 127
Peacock, A.T. xxxii
Peano, G. 136
Peil, J. 31
Periclean 22, 79, 101 – 2
Persson, T. 129
Pettit, P. 129
Philip of Macedonia xvii, 67 – 8, 79
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Index 155
Pico della Mirandola, G. 135
Pierce, C.S. 136
Pigou, A.C. 133
Plato 70
Portinaro, P.P. xxxii
Prato, G. 52, 65
Putnam, H. 126, 136
Puviani, A. 65, 103, 132
Quadrio Curzio, A. 32
Reviglio, F. 129
Ricardo, D. xvi, 15, 42, 73 – 4
Riles, A. xxxiv
Robbins, L. vii, xix, xxv, xxix, 6 – 7, 9, 26,
29, 30, 122, 127
Romano, R. 32
Romeo, R. xxxii, 18
Röpke, W. xxi, xxxi, 23, 28
Ross, D. xxxii
Rotondi, C. 32
Samuels, W.J. 32
Sandmo, A. 130
Scarantino, A. 30
Schelling, T.C. 132
Schulze, G. xxxiv
Schulze, W.D. 130
Schumpeter, J.A. xxxi, 18, 32
Seligman, E. 20
Sensini, G. 14, 31
Silvestri, P. xxxi, 5, 11 – 14, 29, 30, 32 – 3,
100 – 1, 113, 129, 130 – 1, 134 – 6
Siu, L. 134
Smart, W. xxvii, xxviii
Smith, A. xxviii, 15, 134
Soddu, P. xxxii, xxxiii
Solari, G. x, xii, xix – xxii, xxv, xxxi, 19,
28, 95, 100, 102 – 4, 120
Stiglitz, J.E. 135
Su, H.C. 31, 136
Sully (Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of )
51 – 2
Tabellini, G. 129
Tomatis, F. xxxi
Torgler, B. 130
Vailati, G. 15, 31, 124 – 5, 135 – 6
Vanberg, V. xxxiv
van de Laar, E. 31
Vromen, J. xxxii
Wagner, R.E. xxxii, 129
Walras, L. xv – xvi, 14, 38, 39,
40 – 2, 73 – 4
Walsh, V. 31, 136
Walzer, M. 29
Way, C. xxxiv
Weber, M. xxxi, 7, 106
Weston, S. 31
Wicksell, K. 22
Wicksteed, P.H. 8
Winch, D. 134
Witzum, A. 30
Ypi, L. xxxiv
Yuengert, A. 31
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