Professor John Divers

Professor John Divers


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 have worked in Philosophy at the University of Leeds (1994 - 2001) and (2007 - date) having been Profesor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield in the interim.

In other professional roles, I am currently an Editor of the journal Thought (Wiley Blackwell) and a recent President of the Mind Association.


Research interests

From my undergraduate dissertation onwards, my research has been focused on matters of modality -  what is involved in our thinking about things being possible, impossible or necessary.

Over the years my view have developed to a point where I now classify myself as an atirealist about modality - the modal distinctions (betwen what is impossible and what is possible etc.) don't mark objective features of reality but are features of human thought that help us to think more effectively about, and to cope with, what is actualy the case.

I was one of the founders of the European Non-Categorical Thinking Project (EuNoC) in which philosophers, and reaseraches in cognate disciplines, come together to think about problems involving modalities (see above) probabilities, and conditionals.

I was also the Director of the Thinking Counterfactually research project which was funded in its initial phase (2016-18) by the Leverhilme Trust.

My Presidential Address to the 2018 Joint Session, 'W(h?)ither Metaphyical Necessity?" may be viewed through the Oxford University Press Best of Philosophy 2018 website.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MA Mental Philosophy (Hons) University of Glasgow
  • PhD University of Glasgow

Professional memberships

  • Mind Association

Student education

I supervise a number of PhD students.

I also maintain my commitment to undergraduate teaching, standing in the Scottish educational tradition of thinking that Professors are privileged to have the opportunity to introduce (year one) students to their subject.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>