DIAPHORA: Philosophical Problems, Resilience and Persistent Disagreement

DIAPHORA serves as a European research and training platform for collaborative research on the nature of philosophical problems, their resilience and the sources of persistent divergence of expert opinion about them, and their relation to conflicts in the practical sphere.

            More specifically, DIAPHORA’s 3 principal research objectives are (A) to diagnose what makes philosophical problems so resilient and to clarify to what extent the sustained lack of convergence in philosophy can successfully be explained by the hardness of its problems; (B) to explain why the tendency has not been towards a general agnosticism about candidate solutions, but rather towards divergence, and to identify features of philosophical method that allow for such persistent peer disagreement; and (C) to explore whether the dynamics of philosophical debate, despite the subject’s highly theoretical nature, bears important and instructive resemblances to the dynamics of debates about more practical matters and their political and socio-economical antecedents – and hence whether philosophical problems and their attempted resolution can illuminate, and be illuminated by, the procedural and methodological difficulties besetting strategies for the adjudication of public affairs, thereby determining what philosophical thought might contribute to society at large. DIAPHORA joins 7 leading European research centres in philosophy, and 5 partner organisations, 3 of which from the non-academic sector, in the fields of international conflict management, mediation and policy-making, as well as the analysis of social conflict and cultural diversity. It undertakes to provide 14 Early Stage Researchers with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of top-level research within its remit, as well as professional complementary skills training in both the academic and non-academic sectors, with the goal of widening their potential societal contributions and improving their individual career prospects.

            The Edinburgh component of this project will be focussed on the reserach theme, 'The Structure of Warrant'. The goals of this sub-project are:

(1) To study the structure of warrant and justification, with particular focus on failures of warrant transmission and closure;

(2) To explicate, and scrutinize the rationality of, basic epistemic entitlements;

(3) To investigate the reliability and scope of inferences to the best explanation, with special emphasis on the kinds of explanations philosophical theories aim to provide.


Project Studentships/Early Stage Researchers

There will be two PhD studentships for early stage researchers attached to the Edinburgh wing of the project, which will be supervised by one of more of Professor Pritchard, Professor Kallestrup and Dr McGlynn. The studentship will cover fees plus offer an expected annual stipend of £28,649. For more details, see the call for applications here


Project team: 

Edinburgh Lead: Professor Duncan Pritchard

Edinburgh Team Members: Professor Jesper Kallestrup; Dr. Aidan McGlynn

Overall Lead: Professor Sven Rosenkranz (LOGOS, University of Barcelona)

Core Project Network: Professor Fabrice Correia (University of Neuchâtel); Professor Kathrin Gluer-Pagin (Stockholm University); Professor Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat Munchen); Professor Francois Recanati (Institut Jean-Nicod/Ecole Normale Superieure); Professor Crispin Wright (University of Stirling)


Project duration: 
4 years.
This project is funded by a European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN European Training Network grant (c. €3.7M).