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 imperfection 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 aims to serve as a joint European research and training platform for collaborative research on the nature of philosophical problems, their resilience, and the sources of divergence of expert opinion about their resolution.
The network’s main training goal is to provide 14 Early Stage Researchers, each recruited for a period of 36 months at the network’s 7 beneficiaries, 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.