John Caruana

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Dell’Influsso della Filosfia Moderna (1889) of John Caruana
Giovanni Caruana
Born 1866
Valletta, Malta
Died July 31, 1923
Occupation Philosophy

Giovanni Caruana (1866–1923) was a Maltese lawyer and minor philosopher. He was mostly interested in the philosophy of law and in political economy.[1] No portrait of him has been identified as yet.


Caruana was born at Valletta, Malta, in 1866. He was the son of a very influential man, Prof. Antonio Annetto Caruana, who was an archeologist, librarian, Director of Education, and Rector of the University of Malta.

Caruana studied law at the University of Malta, and continued his studies in England and in Italy. He became professor of political economy at the University of Malta in 1889, and later Professor of Constitutional Law. In 1895 he was also appointed Professor of Civil Law. His teaching career spanned over thirty years. He retired in 1921.

Intellectually, liberalism was what seemed to peoccupy Caruana most. He considered liberal philosophy to be some sort of ‘mental corruption’ which only made people miserable and disturbed.


Amongst Caruana’s various works, one is noteworthy for its philosophy value. It is Dell’Influsso della Filosofia Moderna (On the Influence of Modern Philosophy).[2] This 28-page booklet in Italian was published in Malta in 1889 (Tipografia Industriale di Giov. Muscat, Salita Guardanmangia, Pietà). The title is augmented with the qualification sulla Scienza e le Discipline Economico-sociali e della loro presente direzione (on Science and the Economic-Social Disciplines, and their present direction).

The publication reproduces a talk which Caruana delivered at the opening of the academic year 1889/90 of the University of Malta and the Lyceum. The talk was made on October 1, 1889, at the National Library of Malta, Valletta.

Caruana’s talk is an outright attack on liberalism. The writing has no divisions, and continuously cites Aristotle and various political economists. Cicero is cited too. Caruana exemplifies his arguments by drawing upon the situation in England. He explains how there liberalism was arresting the development of science, the economy, and the social studies. Caruana exults England as the bulwark of civilisation, and castigates liberalism for failing to keep England’s scientific, economic and social pre-eminence on an upward and forward trajectory.


  1. ^ Montebello (2001), Vol. I, pp. 69–70
  2. ^ Montebello (2001), Vol. I, p. 167


  • Montebello, Mark (2001). Il-Ktieb tal-Filosofija f'Malta [A Source Book of Philosophy in Malta]. Malta: PIN Publications. ISBN 9789990941838. 

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