The Project

The DIAPHORA project is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network which 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.

The Network is a collaboration between seven participating universities across Europe (Universitat de Barcelona, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Université de Neuchâtel, University of Stirling, Stockholms Universitet, University of Edinburgh, and the École Normale Supérieure Paris) along with five non-academic Partner Organizations.  The Network is coordinated by Professor Sven Rosenkranz (ICREA and the University of Barcelona).


Research Objectives

DIAPHORA’s research programme is driven by three principal research objectives:

(A) To explain to what extent the sustained lack of convergence in philosophy can deservedly be attributed to the hardness of its problems – rather than their spuriousness, the ineptitude of philosophy’s methods or the rational shortcomings of its practitioners – and to provide a diagnosis of what makes philosophical problems so hard to begin with;

(B) To explain why, in the light of the hardness of philosophical problems, the tendency has not been towards a general agnosticism about their candidate solutions, but rather towards divergence, with a wide range of mutually inconsistent positions being occupied and defended in continued debate. This explanation must perforce relate to the methodological and epistemological limitations for adjudicating disagreements in the field;

(C) To explore, in a constructive spirit, whether, suitably generalised, both types of explanations are adequate in application to problems encountered outside the academic arena, in particular those on which international policy making, development and conflict management turn – and so to investigate 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 thence 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, if anything, philosophical ways of thinking might contribute to society at large beyond their purely intellectual function to critically comment upon its course.



The network’s main training goal is to provide 14 Early Stage Researchers, each recruited for a period of 36 months at one of the network’s 7 participating institutions, with the range of skills necessary to meet the demands of leading-edge philosophical research in DIAPHORA’s subject areas, and its application as a theoretical basis for an improved understanding of disagreement, negotiation and conflict resolution outside the academic context.


Stirling’s Contribution: A Priori Knowledge

The Network’s Research Objectives are structured into seven principal Work Packages examining ground-level issues where philosophical disagreement has proved particularly resilient as case studies towards the project’s overarching aim.

Stirling has primary responsibility for a Work Package examining A Priori Knowledge, and will consider the challenges of explaining how the apparently a priori methods whereby much of our logical and mathematical knowledge is achieved may be reconciled with the empirical applicability and necessary truth of those disciplines.



Stirling staff involved in the DIAPHORA Network are:
Professor Crispin Wright (Scientist in Charge)
Dr Sonia Roca-Royes (Work Package Coordinator)
Dr Philip Ebert (Work Package Participant)
Professor Peter Sullivan (Work Package Participant)
Moritz Baron (Early Stage Researcher)
Ásgeir Matthiasson (Early Stage Researcher)



The Network’s third Workshop will be held at the Stirling Court Hotel on the Stirling University Campus from 6-8 September 2017.  For furher deails see: DIAPHORA Workshop III


DIAPHORA is a HORIZON 2020 project supported by the European Research Council

Call identifier: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015
Type of action: MSCA-ETN
Project number: 675415
Project duration: 01/01/2016-31/12/2019
Full details of the project are given on the DIAPHORA website