Professor John Divers

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.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

  • John Divers, Possible Worlds, 1st, London, England, Routledge, 2002, 1 - 384ppBook, 2002, URL
  • John Divers, The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism, by Alastair Wilson. , 2021Review, 2021, DOI , URL
  • Modal anti-realism in, Routledge Handbook of Modality, 2020, [John Divers]Book Chapter, 2020, DOI , URL
  • On Some Arguments for the Necessity and Irreducibility of Necessity in, Being Necessary, 2018, [John Divers]Book Chapter, 2018, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John J. Parry, Advanced Modalizing De Dicto and De Re, 2018Journal Article, 2018, DOI , URL
  • De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century in, The Actual and the Possible, 2017, [John Divers]Book Chapter, 2017, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J., How skeptical is quine{', Monist, 100, (2), 2017, p194-210Journal Article, 2017
  • Divers, J., Philosophical issues from kripke{', Principia, 20, (1), 2016, p1-44Journal Article, 2016
  • Possible Worlds and Possibilia in, The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, 2015, [John Divers]Book Chapter, 2015, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers, An inconvenient modal truth, Analysis, 2014Journal Article, 2014, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J., Modal Reality and (Modal) Logical Space, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 88, (3), 2014, p726-733Review Article, 2014
  • Divers, J., The modal status of the Lewisian analysis of modality, Mind, 123, (491), 2014, p861-872Journal Article, 2014
  • John Divers, Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics by Robert Stalnaker, 2013Review, 2013, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J. and Gonz{\'a, Belief in Absolute Necessity, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 87, (2), 2013, p358-391Journal Article, 2013
  • Divers, J., The analysis of possibility and the extent of possibility, Dialectica, 67, (2), 2013, p183-200Journal Article, 2013
  • Divers, J., Engagement and metaphysical dissatisfaction, Analysis, 72, (4), 2012, p824-831Review Article, 2012
  • Divers, J. and Elstein, D.Y., Manifesting belief in absolute necessity, Philosophical Studies, 158, (1), 2012, p109-130Journal Article, 2012
  • John Divers, Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise, by Takashi Yagisawa., 2011Review, 2011, DOI , URL
  • John Divers, Possibility, by Michael Jubien., 2010Review, 2010, DOI , URL
  • Modal Commitments in, Modality, 2010, [Divers, J.]Book Chapter, 2010
  • John Divers, Substance Among Other Categories by Hoffman \& Rosenkrantz, 2009Review, 2009, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J., Coincidence and form, Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Supplementary Volumes, 82, (1), 2008, p119-137Journal Article, 2008
  • John Divers, Agnosticism About Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2007Journal Article, 2007, DOI , URL
  • John Divers & Alexander Miller, Rethinking Realism, Haldane, J. & Wright,C. (eds), Mind, 2007Review Article, 2007, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J., Quinean scepticism about de re modality after David Lewis, European Journal of Philosophy, 15, (1), 2007, p40-62Journal Article, 2007
  • Divers, J., The modal metaphysics of Alvin Plantinga, Alvin Plantinga, 2007, p71-92Journal Article, 2007
  • John Divers, Realism and Truth by Michael Devitt, 2006Review, 2006, DOI , URL
  • John Divers, Abstract Entities by Toger Teichmann, 2006Review, 2006, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J. and Melia, J., Genuine modal realism: Still limited, Mind, 115, (459), 2006, p731-740Journal Article, 2006
  • Divers, J., Possible-worlds semantics without possible worlds: The agnostic approach, Mind, 115, (458), 2006, p187-225Journal Article, 2006
  • John Divers and John Divers, Kant{', Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2004Journal Article, 2004, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers, Supervenience for operators, 2004Journal Article, 2004, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers, Recent Work On Supervenience, Philosophical Books, 2003Review Article, 2003, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers, VIII-The Analysis of Possibility and the Possibility of Analysis, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2003Journal Article, 2003, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers, A modal fictionalist result, 2003Journal Article, 2003, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J. and Melia, J., Genuine modal realism limited, Mind, 112, (445), 2003, p83-86Journal Article, 2003
  • Divers, J. and Melia, J., The analytic limit of genuine modal realism, Mind, 111, (441), 2002, p15-36Journal Article, 2002
  • Divers, J., A genuine realist theory of advanced modalizing, Mind, 108, (430), 1999, p217-240Journal Article, 1999
  • Divers, J., A modal fictionalist result, Nous, 33, (3), 1999, p317-346Journal Article, 1999
  • Divers, J. and Miller, A., Arithmetical Platonism, Reliability and Judgment-Dependence, Philosophical Studies, 95, (3), 1999, p277-310Journal Article, 1999
  • Divers, J., Kant{', Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 80, (1), 1999, p17-45Journal Article, 1999
  • Divers, J., The analysis of possibility and the possibility of analysis, Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, 97, (1), 1997, p142-160Journal Article, 1997
  • Divers, J., Supervenience for operators, Synthese, 106, (1), 1996, p103-112Journal Article, 1996
  • John Divers and John Divers, Modal fictionalism cannot deliver possible worlds semantics, Analysis, 1995Journal Article, 1995, DOI , URL
  • John Divers and John Divers and Alexander Miller, Platitudes and attitudes: a minimalist conception of belief, Analysis, 1995Journal Article, 1995, DOI , URL
  • Divers, J. and Miller, A., Minimalism and the unbearable lightness of being, Philosophical Papers, 24, (2), 1995, p127-139Journal Article, 1995
  • Divers, J. and Miller, A., Best opinion, intention-detecting and analytic functionalism, Philosophical Quarterly, 44, (175), 1994, p239-245Journal Article, 1994
  • Divers, J., On the prohibitive cost of indiscernible concrete possible worlds, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 72, (3), 1994, p384-389Journal Article, 1994
  • Divers, J. and Miller, A., Why expressivists about value should not love minimalism about truth, Analysis (United Kingdom), 54, (1), 1994, p12-19Journal Article, 1994
  • DIVERS, J., Modal supervenience and modal realism, Theoria, 58, (2-3), 1992, p99-115Journal Article, 1992
  • John Divers, W(h?)ither Metaphysical Necessity, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 2018Journal Article, 2018
  • John Divers, This is the Only Possible World, 2021, -Miscellaneous, URL

Research Expertise

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.

  • Title
    Thinking Counterfactually
    Funding Agency
    The Leverhulme Trust

Philosophy, Ethics and Religion,


  • Professorial Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2022