I had the unusual experience of receiving my first legal education at home by my father, the distinguished legal philosopher Alessandro Giuliani (1925-1997). He was a leading scholar in his field who never ceased to share with his children his original (and in legal academia still influential) logo-centric understanding of the normative phenomenon. Family days were accompanied by his telling us of the natura rerum, the kairos, the verum ipsum factum and other notions which only today I’m able to appreciate in their full implications. What I really know about the law begins from there.

My parents Rosalia and Alessandro (second from the right) with some colleagues

Then there were the conversations at dinnertime with his guests, and some of them were the finest legal minds of the time, as I discovered later. Almost naturally at University studied law, and determined not to be any less, I excelled.

As I reached the end of my legal studies, I felt it inappropriate to start a career in my father’s field, I wanted to show I was able to make it in a different direction. Having received a formal instruction in violin, I started a musical career playing in various professional orchestras and teaching. I wanted to apply my intellectual abilities to this new field to reformulate the antiquated approach taught in Italian Conservatories.

The game changer was the award of a competitive British Council Grant for the Arts for studying in London with a world-class violin teacher (Emanuel Hurwitz) and Analysis of Music at King’s College, London. On one hand interpretive skills and technical proficiency; on the other, philosophical thinking on the deep structures of musical language.

With that mass of knowledge I set up an educational project for pupils without musical background which I disseminated through articles and interviews in a journal I started under the patronage of Sir Yehudi Menuhin.

When my father passed away (1997) that exercise seemed futile. I felt the responsibility to recapture what I learned at home and make it usable again. With a letter of presentation from Yehudi Menuhin I was accepted at the London School of Economics for a MSc supervised by the British philosopher John Gray, and after a full immersion in British 19th c. philosophy, I went to Cambridge initially with Quentin Skinner pursuing that intellectual line that eventually brought me to a doctoral research on 16th century theory of presumptions in Jacopo Menochio’s treatise (1587). During that period Peter Stein, my father’s old friend, was kind to invite me periodically for conversations at his college, leaving me with the piercing sense that someone was missing in those meetings.

It has taken some time to put together all those pieces. As I realised later, I was chasing a broad idea that had fructified in diverse fields and that required some understanding of its ramifications. The unusual feature of Alessandro Giuliani’s legacy is of having left a mark on a variety of disciplines: procedure, constitutional law, private law, economics, sociology (link). What I pursued has been literally a ‘research’, which left me with an interdisciplinary sense of adventure and some boldness in trespassing boundaries.  

None of the above would have been possible without the presence of my wife Caterina and the joy brought by our son Rubén (2002).

Whale watching with Rubén, Boston bay, Mass. (USA), 2009
Whale watching with Rubén, Boston bay, Mass. (USA), 2009