Professor John Divers

Professor John Divers

Professor of Philosophy:

Deputy Head of School (Philosophy & History of Science)

+44 (0)113 343 3281

Summary: Modality: Antirealisms.

Location: Michael Sadler Building Ground Floor G20

Teaching Commitments: Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 1001), Philosophy of Logic & Mathematics (PHIL 3221) & Analytic Philosophy (PHIL 5000M)

John Divers continues to work on modality. Having written one monograph, Possible Worlds (Routledge) and around thirty further pieces on that topic, John is currently working on a further monograph Necessity After Quine (Oxford University Press).

John is co-editor of the new Wiley-Blackwell journal, Thought.

Research Interests

  • Modality: all!
  • Phil Logic: non-classical logics, pure and applied semantics
  • Phil Maths: Platonism and logicism
  • Metaethics: truth, truth-aptitude and non-cognitivism
  • Transcendental Arguments

Recent & Forthcoming Publications

  • (2016 f/com) De Re Modality in the Late 20th Century: The Prescient Quine, in Sinclair, M. (ed) The Actual and the Possible: Modality in Modern Philosophy
  • (2014a f/com) An Inconvenient Modal Truth, Analysis 74.4

  • (2014b f/com) The Modal Status of the Lewisian Analysis of Modality, Mind 123.491

  • (2014c) Modal Reality and (Modal) Logical Space, in Symposium on T. Williamson, Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88, pp.726-33.

  • (2013a) Belief in Absolute Necessity [by John Divers & Jose Edgar Gonzalez-Varela] in Philosophy & Phenomenological Research 87, pp.358-91.

  • (2013b) On The Analysis of Possibility and the Extent of Possibility, Dialectica 67.2, pp.183-200.

Selected Publications

    • (2010) Modal Commitments, in The Logic, Epistemology and Metaphysics of Modality, Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffman (eds.), (Oxford, Oxford University Press) pp.189-219.

    • (2006d)/(1994a) Why Expressivists About Value Should Not Love Minimalism About Truth [by John Divers & Alexander Miller] in Arguing About Metaethics, A.Fisher, A. & S.Kirchin, (eds.) (Oxford, London): original publication Analysis 54, pp.12-19.

    • (2002a) Possible Worlds (Routledge: London)

    • (2002b) The Analytic Limit of Genuine Modal Realism [by John Divers & Joseph Melia], Mind 111, pp.15-36.

    • (1999b) A Genuine Realist Theory of Advanced Modalizing, Mind 108.430, pp.217- 239.

    • (1995a) Minimalism and The Unbearable Lightness of Being [by John Divers & Alexander Miller], Philosophical Papers 24.2, pp.127-139.

      PhD Supervision

      My main research expertise is in modality and I would be delighted to continue supervising postgraduates who want to work in that area. More broadly, any project that involves a study of an antirealist position is something that I'm also likely to be interested in.


      Former Students (PhD)

      • Paul Ramshaw, Modal Thought and Modal Knowledge (University of Leeds, submission September 2014)
      • Jonathan Banks, Anti-Realist Essentialism (University of Leeds, submission September 2014)
      • Alexander Oldemeier, The Epistemology of Abstractionism (University of Leeds, 2012)
      • Mirja Holst, Incomplete Definite Descriptions (University of Leeds, 2012)
      • Haytham Elsayed Soliman, Philosophical Investigations into Formalization and Compositionality of Language: A Montagovian Analysis of Arabic Quantification as a Case Study (University of Leeds, 2011)
      • Stephan Kraemer, Ontological Commitment and Second-Order Quantification (University of Leeds, 2011)
      • Duncan Watson, The Metaphysics of Possibilia and Impossibilia (University of Leeds, 2010)
      • Jose Edgar Gonzalez Varela, Modal Non-Cognitivism (University of Sheffield, 2008)
      • Richard Woodward, The Case of The Modal Fictionalist (University of Sheffield, 2007)
      • Anthony Wrigley, Abstracting Propositions (University of Leeds, December 2001)

      Former Students (MA by Research)

      • Martin Vacek, Lewis on Impossibilia and Impossibility (University of Leeds, 2013)

      Further Publications

      • (2012b) B. Stroud, Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction, (Oxford University Press, Oxford) Analysis Reviews Vol 72, No.4, pp.824-31.
      • (2009) Possible Worlds and Possibilia, in The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics LePoidevin, R. et al (eds.) (Oxford, Taylor & Francis) pp. 335-45.
      • (2008) Form and Coincidence, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 82, pp.119-38.
      • (2007a) Quinean Skepticism About De Re Modality After David Lewis, European Journal of Philosophy 15.1, pp.40-62.
      • (2007b) The Modal Metaphysics of Alvin Plantinga, in Contemporary Philosophy in Focus: Alvin Plantinga, Baker, D-P. (ed.) (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press) pp.71-92.
      • (2006a) The Modal Fictionalist Predicament [by John Divers & Jason Hagen] in Identity and Modality: New Essays in Metaphysics, MacBride, F. (ed.) (Oxford, Oxford University Press) pp.57-73.
      • (2006b) Genuine Modal Realism: Still Limited [by John Divers & Joseph Melia] Mind 115, pp.732-40
      • (2006c) Possible-Worlds Semantics Without Possible Worlds: The Agnostic Approach, Mind 115, pp.187-225.
      • (2005) Fictionalism, [by John Divers & David Liggins] in Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition (MacMillan Reference, New York), pp. 626–630.
      • (2004) Agnosticism About Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49, pp.659-84.
      • (2003) Genuine Modal Realism Limited [by John Divers & Joseph Melia] Mind 112, pp.83-6.
      • (1999a) A Modal Fictionalist Result, Nous 33.3, pp.317- 346.
      • (1999c) Kant's Criteria of the A Priori, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80.1, pp.17-45.
      • (1999d) Arithmetical Platonism: Reliability and Judgement-Dependence [by John Divers & Alexander Miller] Philosophical Studies 95.4, pp.277-310.
      • (1998a) Supervenience, Philosophical Books 39.2, pp.81-91.
      • (1998b) Modal Fictionalism: A Happy Ending? in Logica Yearbook 1997, T.Childers (ed.), (Filosofia, Prague) pp.208-23.
      • (1997) The Analysis of Possibility and the Possibility of Analysis, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97.2, pp.141-160.
      • (1996) Supervenience For Operators, Synthese106.1, pp.103-112.
      • (1995b) Modal Fictionalism Cannot Deliver Possible-Worlds Semantics, Analysis 55.2, pp.81- 89.
      • (1995c) Platitudes and Attitudes: A Minimalist Conception of Belief [by John Divers & Alexander Miller], Analysis 55.1 pp.37-44.
      • (1994b) On The Prohibitive Cost of Indiscernible Concrete Possible Worlds, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72.3, pp.384-9.
      • (1994c) Best Opinions, Intention-Detecting and Analytic Functionalism [by John Divers & Alexander Miller], Philosophical Quarterly 44.2, pp.249 – 256.
      • (1994d) Rethinking Realism, [by John Divers & Alexander Miller] Critical Notice of Reality, Representation and Projection, J. Haldane & C. Wright (eds.), (Oxford, Oxford University Press), Mind103.412, pp.519 –533.
      • (1992) Modal Supervenience and Modal Realism, Theoria 58, 2-3, pp.99-115.