Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2016/2017 Prof. Dr. Paolo Silvestri

Prof. Dr. Paolo Silvestri

Universität Turin
Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und politische Philosophie
External Senior Fellow
Oktober 2017 - März 2018


Paolo Silvestri is a Research fellow at the Department of Economics and Statistics “Cognetti de Martiis” (University of Turin) and Habilitated Associate Professor both in Philosophy of Law and Political Philosophy. He has a Degree in Economics and Commerce (Faculty of Economics, University of Chieti/Pescara), a PhD in Philosophy of Law (Faculty of Law, University of Padova) and, from 2004 to 2012 was Assistant professor in Philosophy of Law (Faculty of Law, University of Turin). He has received the following appointments by the Cornell University (Ithaca, NY): Luigi Einaudi Chair Holder (spring term, 2011), Visiting Scholar (Mario Einaudi Center, 2014), Visiting Scholar (Cornell Law School, 2015) and is national coordinator of and lecturer at the Cornell-in-Turin Summer courses.

His research interests are in Legal and Political Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Economics. His current research focuses on “Philosophy, Economics and Policies of Tax Justice: enquiry into the human foundations of a (new) fiscal democracy”.

Among his honours and prizes he has been awarded the STOREP Young Scholar Award (2012) and the “WorldWide Style2” Fellowship (International mobility program, University of Torino, 2015) for two Research Visiting: at Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (University of Freiburg) and London School of Economics, Dep. of Government.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • P. Silvestri, P. Heritier (Eds.), Good government, Governance and Human Complexity. Luigi Einaudi’s Legacy and Contemporary Society, Leo Olschki, Firenze 2012;
  • P. Silvestri, Economia, diritto e politica nella filosofia di Croce: tra finzioni-istituzioni e libertà [Economics, Law and Politics in Croce’s Philosophy. Between Fictions, Institutions and Freedom], Giappichelli, Torino 2012;
  • P. Silvestri, Il liberalismo di Luigi Einaudi o del Buongoverno [On the Liberalism of Luigi Einaudi or Of Good Government], Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2008;
  • P. Silvestri, ‘The ideal of good government in Luigi Einaudi’s Thought and Life: Between Law and Freedom’, in P. Heritier, P. Silvestri (eds.), Good government, Governance and Human Complexity. Luigi Einaudi’s Legacy and Contemporary Society, Leo Olschki, Firenze, 2012, pp. 55-95
  • P. Silvestri, ‘After-word. Which (good-bad) man? For which (good-bad) polity?’, in P. Heritier, P. Silvestri (eds.), Good government, Governance and Human Complexity. Luigi Einaudi’s Legacy and Contemporary Society, Leo Olschki, Firenze, 2012, pp. p. 313-332


Enquiry into the human foundations of a fiscal democracy

The economic crisis and the sovereign debt crisis, the restrictive fiscal policies and their social consequences, as well as the management of the bailouts of states through procedures and supranational institutions of dubious democratic legitimacy, have not only revived the never dormant issue of democratic deficit of the European Union, but would also call for new and urgent answers to classic questions of the legal, political and economic philosophy: why to pay (or not to pay) taxes? Namely, what is the foundation of tax obligation, power to tax, fiscal and budgetary policies? What are the human values that should found, legitimize and guide the analysis, development and implementation of a sound fiscal system, worthy of citizens’ trust: property, freedom, autonomy, free consent, justice, social justice, efficiency, equity, ‘benefit received’ and/or ‘ability to pay’ principle, human dignity, etc., or a certain balance of them? If the principle “no taxation without representation” appears to be a kind of unfinished revolution, how the human foundations of a new fiscal democracy are to be re-thought after the crisis?

The enquiry starts from two working hypotheses: A) that the tax system is a focal point of the social pactum on which any society is founded, at the intersection between horizontal and vertical social relationships, and, therefore, a vantage point for a reflection on the anthropological foundations of virtuous/vicious circles of good/bad societies and good/bad governance; B) that it is not possible to find a suitable answer to the problem of the trade-off between the human values that should found the legitimacy of a sound fiscal constitution, without a minimal and shareable vision of the human.

Within this extensive research agenda, the research stay in Freiburg (FRIAS) is mainly devoted to a comparison between the anthropological assumptions of two longstanding and influencing interdisciplinary traditions: 1) The Italian tradition in Public finance – which influenced Buchanan and the Public Choice; 2) the Ordoliberal Freiburg School – as subsequently integrated with the approaches of the Public Choice, and, then, Constitutional Economics. To this purpose I will search for a ‘human common ground’ by exploring, respectively: (1) political/economic/sociological theories of taxation and of “good government”, and, in particular, Einaudi’s economic humanism, his theory of “critical point” and unfinished ‘anthropology of taxation’ between gift and exchange; (2) notions of human freedom, autonomy and dignity, citizen sovereignty, rational choice, rule-following behaviour, fiscal constitution, human order, social order, Human Economics and ‘Civitas humana’.