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Professor John Divers

Professor of Moral Philosophy (1837) (Philosophy)


I am a "first generation" university entrant and took my degrees (MA Mental Philosophy 1982, PhD Philosophy 1990) in my home town at the University of Glasgow. Like many philosophers I began with the intention of studying mathematics and did so for two years. I jointed the TCD Philosophy Department in June 2021, having previously been Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and (more recently) at the University of Leeds I am currently an Editor of the journal Thought: a Journal of Philosophy (Wiley Blackwell) and a past President of the Mind Association.
 Thinking Counterfactually

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John Divers, The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism, by Alastair Wilson. , 2021, Review, PUBLISHED  DOI
Modal anti-realism in, Routledge Handbook of Modality, 2020, [John Divers], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
On Some Arguments for the Necessity and Irreducibility of Necessity in, Being Necessary, 2018, [John Divers], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
John Divers, W(h?)ither Metaphysical Necessity, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 2018, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
John Divers and John J. Parry, Advanced Modalizing De Dicto and De Re, 2018, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century in, The Actual and the Possible, 2017, [John Divers], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
Divers, J., How skeptical is quine{', Monist, 100, (2), 2017, p194-210 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Divers, J., Philosophical issues from kripke{', Principia, 20, (1), 2016, p1-44 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Possible Worlds and Possibilia in, The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, 2015, [John Divers], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
John Divers and John Divers, An inconvenient modal truth, Analysis, 2014, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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John Divers, This is the Only Possible World, 2021, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED


Award Date
Professorial Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2022
From my undergraduate dissertation onwards, my research has focused on matters of modality: what might be, what would have been, what must be and what cannot be. I take an anti-realistic view of modality. The world "in itself" is not modal, but our modal judgments help us make our way in that non-modal world. This modal anti-realism originates in Hume, and my recent work is about recovering and taking forward the version of it that was constructed, in the late 20th century, by Quine. My work on modality invokes the full range of sub-disciplines of theoretical philosophy: metaphysics; epistemology; logic and the philosophies of language, of mind and of science. I am keenly interested in debates between realists and anti-realists in fields beyond modality - tentatively favouring anti-realism in the case of values (moral and otherwise) but realism in the case of mathematics.