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FERDINANDO GALIANI’S NEWTONIAN SOCIAL MATHEMATICS

Rosario Patalano

Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2020, vol. 42, issue 3, 357-383

Abstract: The evolution of Ferdinando Galiani’s thought toward social mathematic has been neglected by scholars, and his attempt to establish political arguments on the analytical basis remains unexplored. The non-systematic nature of Galiani’s intuitions, due to his laziness, largely justifies this underestimation of his scientific program. This paper intends to show that the mature abbé Galiani follows an intellectual itinerary autonomous and parallel to that followed by Marquis de Condorcet in the same years. The anti-Physiocratique querelle represents Galiani’s methodological maturation. In contrast with Physiocratic economic doctrine, based on the primacy of deductive methodology, Galiani claims for economic science the realism of circumstance against aprioristic axiomatic hypotheses and rationalist generalizations. Galiani’s project, substantially similar to Marquis de Condorcet’s approach to social science, can be defined as Newtonian social mathematics opposed to Physiocratic Cartesian social mathematics.

Date: 2020
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