Philosophy in Malta

Philosophy in Malta refers to the philosophy of Maltese nationals or those of Maltese descent, whether living in Malta or abroad, whether writing in their native Maltese language or in a foreign language. Though Malta is not more than a tiny European island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, for the last six centuries its very small population happened to come in close contact with some of Europe's main political, academic and intellectual movements.[1] Philosophy was among the interests fostered by its academics and intellectuals.[2]

Frontispiece of Rispoli's 1609 magnum opus

For the greater part of its history, in Malta philosophy was simply studied as part of a basic institutional programme which mainly prepared candidates to become priests, lawyers or physicians.[3] It was only during the latter part of the 20th century that philosophy began to acquire an ever-growing importance of its own.[4] Nevertheless, throughout the years a few Maltese academics and intellectuals have stood out for their philosophical prowess and acumen. Despite their limitations, they gave their modest share for the understanding of philosophy and some of the areas it covers.

Though, from the mid-16th century onwards, in Malta philosophy was taught at various institutions of higher education, from the latter part of the 18th century onwards the main academic body which promoted philosophical activity and research was the University of Malta.[5] Today, mainly due to easier access to data sources and to enhanced communication networks, such philosophical inquiries and pursuits are more extensive in prevalence as in content.