Finlay McCardel

Research title: What ‘if’? A Modal Analysis of Indicative Conditionals

Research Summary

My research focuses on logic, metaphysics and epistemology. In particular, I’m interested in the truth conditions of natural language conditionals (propositions expressed using the word ‘if’). Conditionals are ubiquitous, but there is currently no philosophical consensus on the conditions under which they are true - indeed, there is not even consensus on whether they are ever true. 

My project investigates connections between conditionals, conditional probabilities, and metaphysical possibilities. The simple, truth-functional theory of indicative conditionals often taught in logic classrooms works well in most contexts, but it also implies the truth of absurd conditionals like ‘If you stop reading this sentence, the world will explode,’ just given the assumption that you don’t stop reading it. My project aims to improve on this view by trading some simplicity for some intuitive plausibility.

The theory of conditionals also has implications for scientific concepts such as causation and evidence. In addition to my primary research, I am involved in a collaborative project with safety engineers who have sought advice on the proper use of these concepts in science communication.


SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship

University of Glasgow PGT Scholarship



1A: How Should I Think? (Tutor)

1B: How Should I Live? (Tutor)

2B: What Is There? (Tutor)

ADED11414E: Access Philosophy (Tutor and Lecturer)

Additional Information

Member of COGITO (Epistemology Research Group)

Philosophy Postgraduate Seminar Organiser (2020 / 21)

Secretary of Glasgow University Philosophy Society (2012 / 13)

Frances Melville Prize and Medal (2012)

Thomas G Holt Prize (2011)