Hey there! Welcome to my website. I’m a philosopher working on animal minds and animal ethics, currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna. Feel free to nose around 🙂

You can also find me on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, ORCIDAcademia, and PhilPeople.

If you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email to susana [dot] monso [at] vetmeduni [dot] ac [dot] at

All animal pictures on this website are from Unsplash.

About me

I was born in Madrid in 1988. I hold a BA in Philosophy from Complutense University of Madrid, an MA in Global Ethics and Human Values from King’s College London, and a PhD in Philosophy from UNED, Spain. I have been a post-doc fellow at the University of Graz and I’m now based at the Unit of Ethics and Human-Animal Studies of the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna.

Since you clicked your way into this site, you may be interested in some further random facts about me:

My pronouns are she/her.

My surname is pronounced “mons-OH”, never “MONS-oh”.

I’m married to Spanish sci-fi and fantasy writer Javier Miró.

In my free time I enjoy acting, playing board games, binge-watching TV series, and reading novels with badass female characters.

If I could belong to a different species, I would choose to be a humpback whale.

This is me talking about tardigrades. Picture: Institute for New Culture Technologies/t0


I’m interested in what animals are capable of feeling and doing, and what this means for the sort of treatment that we owe them.

I’m currently a Lise Meitner fellow at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, running a project entitled ‘Animals and the Concept of Death.’ The purpose of this project is to determine whether any nonhuman species can understand death. The main research focus is a conceptual analysis of what understanding death amounts to and an assessment of the pertinent empirical evidence being gathered in the fields of ethology and comparative psychology.  I’m also collaborating with some members of the Comparative Cognition team at the Messerli, attempting to determine the optimal conditions that would favour the emergence of the concept of death in nature, as well as devising experiments that can test the ideas developed in the course of the project. You can read the pilot study of this project here.

In addition to this, I’m involved in an FWF-funded Stand-alone project entitled ‘Morality in Animals: What It Means and Why It Matters.’ This project is led by Judith Benz-Schwarzburg and is ongoing since 2018. In this project, we are investigating the different forms, both positive and negative, that the moral capacities of animals may take. We are also mapping out the ethical implications of animal morality (you can read our pilot study on this topic here).

You can check out what I’ve written until now by having a look at my list of publications. In addition, here’s a list of papers of mine that are currently in preparation or under review:

  • A paper on meaning in the lives of animals, with Judith Benz-Schwarzburg.
  • A paper on animal rationality, with Giacomo Melis.
  • A paper on touch and emotional contagion, with Maria Botero.
  • A paper on dogs’ perception of humans and its ethical implications, with Judith Benz-Schwarzburg and Ludwig Huber.



Andrews, K. & Monsó, S. (forthcoming): Revised edition of the ‘Animal cognition’ entry, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Monsó, S. & Wrage, B. (forthcoming): ‘Tactful animals: How the study of touch can inform the animal morality debate.’ Philosophical Psychology.

Monsó, S. & Osuna-Mascaró, A.J. (2020): ‘Death is common, so is understanding it: The concept of death in other species.’ Synthese. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-020-02882-y

Monsó, S. (2019): ‘How to tell if animals can understand death.’ Erkenntnis. DOI: 10.1007/s10670-019-00187-2

Monsó, S. & Grimm, H. (2019): ‘An alternative to the orthodoxy in animal ethics? Limits and merits of the Wittgensteinian critique of moral individualism.’ Animals, 9 (12), 1057.

Pali-Schöll, I., Binder, R., Moens, Y., Polesny, F., & Monsó, S. (2019): ‘Edible insects – defining knowledge gaps in biological and ethical considerations of entomophagy.’ Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59 (17), 2760-2771.

Monsó, S., Benz-Schwarzburg, J., & Bremhorst, A. (2018): ‘Animal morality: What it means and why it matters.’ The Journal of Ethics, 22 (3–4), 283–310.

Monsó, S. (2017): ‘Morality without mindreading.’ Mind & Language, 32 (3), 338–57.

Monsó, S. (2015): ‘Empathy and morality in behaviour readers.’ Biology & Philosophy, 30 (5), 671-690.

Book chapters:

Monsó, S. & Andrews, K. (forthcoming): ‘Animal moral psychologies’ in Doris, J. & Vargas, M. (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rowlands, M. & Monsó, S. (2017): ‘Animals as reflexive thinkers: the aponoian paradigm’ in Kalof, L. (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies, pp: 319-343. New York: Oxford University Press.


Monsó, S. & Osuna-Mascaró, A. (2020): ‘Problems with basing insect ethics on individuals’ welfare.’ Animal Sentience, 29 (8).

Monsó, S. (2019): ‘Humans are superior — by human standards.’ Animal Sentience, 23 (17).

Monsó, S. (2016): ‘The moral dimension of pre-reflective self-awareness.’ Animal Sentience 2016.121.

Conference proceedings:

Monsó, S. (forthcoming): ‘Treating animals as the sort of thing they are: Commentary on Gary Varner’s Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition’ in Schmidt-Petri, C. & Schefczyk, M. (eds.): Proceedings volume of ISUS 2018. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific.

Benz-Schwarzburg, J., Andrews, K., Botero, M., Monsó, S., & Wrage, B. (2019): ‘Can animals be moral? Assessing conceptual challenges and ethical implications’ in Vinnari, E. & Vinnari, M. (eds.): Sustainable Governance and Management of Food Systems: Ethical Perspectives. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Monsó, S. (2018): ‘Why insect sentience might not matter very much’ in Springer, S. & Grimm, H. (eds.): Professionals in Food Chains: Ethics, Roles and Responsibilities, pp: 375–380. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Pali-Schöll, I., Monsó, S., Meinlschmidt, P., Purschke, B., Hofstetter, G., Einhorn, L., Mothes-Luksch, N. Jensen-Jarolim, E., & Jäger, H. (2018): ‘Edible insects in food and feed – far from being well characterized. Step 1: a look at allergenicity and ethical aspects’ in Springer, S. & Grimm, H. (eds.): Professionals in Food Chains: Ethics, Roles and Responsibilities, pp: 520–525. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Book reviews:

Monsó, S. (2019). Review of Varieties of Empathy: Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics by Elisa Aaltola. IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 12 (2), 185–187.

Monsó, S. (2017). ‘To be rational, or not to be rational—that is the question. Review of Michael Tye’s Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs: Are Animals Conscious? Metascience, 26 (3), 487–491.


Osuna-Mascaró, A.J., & Monsó, S. ‘Los animales entienden la muerte más de lo que se pensaba’The Conversation, October 12, 2020.

Andrews, K., & Monsó, S. ‘Rats are us’ Aeon, March 2, 2020.

Monsó, S. ‘Tierische Intelligenzen’, Springerin 1/2018, pp. 6–7.

Monsó, S. ‘¿Por qué se ríen los animales?’, El Español, 27/5/2016.


You can download my CV by clicking here.