Picture: Tanya Lacey

Hey there! Welcome to my website. I’m a philosopher working on animal minds and animal ethics, currently an assistant professor at the Department of Logic, History, and Philosophy of Science of UNED, Madrid (Spain). Feel free to nose around!

If you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email to smonso [at] fsof [dot] uned [dot] es

You can also find me on Bluesky, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, ORCID, and PhilPeople, but no longer on Twitter.

All nonhuman 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 at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna and am now based at the Department of Logic, History, and Philosophy of Science of UNED.

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

My pronouns are she/her.

I am the co-founder of the Philosophy of Animal Minds and Behavior Association and a member of METIS and SWIP-Analytic Spain. I also run the Animal Cognition & Ethics mailing list.

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

My surname is pronounced “Mons-OH”, and I will secretly judge you if you spell it without an accent.

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, thinking, and doing, and what this means for the sort of treatment that we owe them.

Most of my research has focused on (socio-)cognitive capacities traditionally viewed as uniquely human, such as morality or a concept of death. I’m interested in exploring to what extent these preconceptions respond to over-intellectualised accounts of these capacities or to skewed interpretations of the available data. I am also involved in devising conceptually more robust (and more ethical) ways of studying animal minds, and reflecting on the ethical implications of new discoveries in comparative cognition.

My work is highly inter-disciplinary and involves collaborations with philosophers and scientists from different fields. In addition, I aim for my research to have an impact beyond academia. I have written popular pieces for outlets like Aeon, New Scientist, and The Conversation. I am also the author of a popular science book called La zarigüeya de Schrödinger, which explores how animals understand death. An English translation, titled Playing Possum: How Animals Understand Death, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.

You can check out what I’ve written until now by having a look at my publications.



Monsó, S. (forthcoming 2024): Playing Possum: How Animals Understand Death (updated and revised translation). Princeton University Press.

Monsó, S. (2021): La zarigüeya de Schrödinger: Cómo viven y entienden la muerte los animales. Plaza y Valdés.


Melis, G. & Monsó, S. (2023): ‘Are humans the only rational animals?’ The Philosophical Quarterly. DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqad090.

Monsó, S. (2022): ‘How to tell if animals can understand death.’ Erkenntnis, 87, 117–136.

Kuylen, M., Han, S., Harris, L., Huys, Q., Monsó, S., Pitman, A., Fleming, S., & David, A. (2022) ‘Mortality Awareness: New Directions’, OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying. DOI: 10.1177/00302228221100640.

Andrews, K. & Monsó, S. (2021): Revised edition of the ‘Animal cognition’ entry. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Monsó, S. & Osuna-Mascaró, A.J. (2021): ‘Death is common, so is understanding it: The concept of death in other species.’ Synthese, 199 (1), 2251–2275.

Monsó, S. & Wrage, B. (2021): ‘Tactful animals: How the study of touch can inform the animal morality debate.’ Philosophical Psychology, 34 (1), 1–27.

Benz-Schwarzburg, J., Monsó, S., & Huber, L. (2020): ‘How dogs perceive humans and how humans should treat their pet dogs: Linking cognition with ethics.’ Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 584037.

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. & Hintze, S. (2023): ‘For their own good? The unseen harms of disenhancing farmed animals’ in Abbate, C. E. & Bobier, C. (eds.): New Omnivorism and Strict Veganism: Critical Perspectives. Routledge.

Monsó, S. & Andrews, K. (2022): ‘‘Animal moral psychologies’ in Vargas, M. & Doris, J. (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology, pp. 388–420. New York: Oxford University Press.

Monsó, S., Aigner, A., & Grimm, H. (2021): ‘Die traditionelle Tierethik und ihre Kritik: Der moralische Individualismus und die Grenzen und Vorzüge der Wittgenstein’schen Alternative’ in Lintner, M. (ed.): Mensch – Tier – Gott. Interdisziplinäre Annäherungen an eine christliche Tierethik, pp: 59-84. Nomos.

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. & Moore, R. (2023): ‘Normative expectations in human and nonhuman animals.’ Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/17456916231187401

Monsó, S. & Osuna-Mascaró, A.J. (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. (2021): ‘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.): Utility, Progress, and Technology, pp. 479–485. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific.

Monsó, S. (2021): ‘Is predation necessarily amoral?’ in Siegetsleitner, A., Oberprantacher, A., Frick, M.-L. & Metschl, U. (eds.): Crisis and Critique: Philosophical Analysis and Current Events, pp. 367–384. Berlin: De Gruyter.

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.


Monsó, S. ‘La matanza y la traición’ (2023) foreword for the book Ánima by photojournalist Ruth Montiel Arias.

Monsó, S. Response to the query ‘Do any animals, other than us, have an awareness of their own mortality?’, New Scientist, 12 February 2022.

Monsó, S. ‘¿Qué piensan los animales de la muerte?: por qué el duelo no es exclusivo de los seres humanos’El Español, 15/9/2021.

Monsó, S. ‘What animals think of death’, Aeon, September 14, 2021.

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.

Ongoing projects:

  • A paper on the philosophy of comparative cognition, with Kristin Andrews.
  • Another paper on the philosophy of comparative cognition, with Richard Moore.
  • A paper on the ethical implications of animals’ concept of death, with Eze Paez.
  • A paper on the cognitive requirements of a concept of death, with Laura Danón.

Press coverage

Atmosféricos do día 20/11/2023 (minuto 35) — Interview for the Spanish radio Radio Galega (20/11/23)

Review on Instagram by Spanish actor Dani Rovira (10/11/2023)

‘Ánima’: la Santa Compaña, la matanza del cerdo y los derechos animales — Mention in the Spanish newspaper Eldiario.es (07/10/2023)

Susana Monsó, filósofa: “Estudiar cómo viven los animales la muerte nos ayuda a naturalizar el duelo” — Interview for the Spanish newspaper El País (05/07/2023)

Do animals grieve? — Interview for the American podcast Unexplainable (Vox) (28/06/2023)

¿Es el ser humano el único animal que piensa? — Interview for the Spanish radio programme Punto de Enlace (RNE) (26/06/2023)

La muerte en el mundo animal — Interview for the Spanish national TV station La 2 (23/06/2023)

Is human intelligence overrated? — Interview for the Canadian radio CBC (22/06/2023)

Comportamiento e inteligencia animal — Interview for the Spanish radio programme A Hombros de Gigantes (RNE) (13/05/2023)

¿La moral nos diferencia de otros animales? — Mention in the Spanish magazine Muy Interesante (04/2023)

Pensar como las bestias: nuevas miradas sobre la inteligencia animal — Interview for the Spanish newspaper El País (16/04/2023)

Gli animali concepiscono la morte? Lo scopriamo con Susana Monsò e il suo «opossum di Schrödinger» — Interview for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (17/03/2023)

Ma quanto è buono (da morto) il padrone! — Mention in the Italian newspaper Il Sole (19/02/23)

Necrofobia, tanatosis y otros secretos animales — Interview for the Spanish podcast Lo que tú digas (08/02/23)

A minimal concept of death: A dialogue with Susana Monsó — Interview for the American podcast Converging Dialogues (10/11/2022)

Susana Monsó: How animals experience and understand death — Interview for the Portuguese podcast The Dissenter (24/10/2022)

Hay hormigas que van a su entierro: Así es el pésame en el reino animal — Interview for the Spanish magazine Viruji (21/10/2022)

Susana Monsó: «Los perros y los gatos nos tienen totalmente domesticados» — Interview for the Spanish magazine XLSemanal (25/09/2022)

La ballena que paseó a su bebé muerto por medio mundo — Mention in El Caballo de Nietzsche, the animal ethics blog of the Spanish newspaper elDiario.es (09/07/2022)

Directo 9 — Interview for the Spanish podcast Filosofía de Bolsillo (22/06/2022)

Lletraferida 30-05-2022 — Interview for the Spanish radio Matadepera Ràdio (30/05/2022)

¿Pueden ser morales el resto de animales? — Mention in the Spanish newspaper El País (28/05/2022)

“We are reflective animals – which comes with responsibility” — Interview for the Sentientism podcast (22/05/2022)

¿Entienden la muerte los animales? — Interview for the Spanish podcast El Dragón Invisible (15/05/2022)

Susana Monsó: «Nos da miedo aceptar que somos depredadores» — Interview for the Spanish magazine Zenda (10/05/2022)

Animal minds and animal morality — Interview (with Kristin Andrews) for the American podcast Many Minds (28/04/2022)

Musarañas — Interview for the Spanish podcast La Tecla Muerta (01/04/2022)

¿Tienen sentimientos las langostas, los cangrejos o los pulpos? — Interview for the Spanish newspaper El Correo (25/03/2022)

7 marzo 22 — Interview for the Mexican YouTube channel Cultivemos Bioética (07/03/2022)

Death is common in every species — Interview for the American podcast Tomorrow, Today (07/03/2022)

La thanatose, ou quand l’animal mime la mort pour tromper ses prédateurs — Mention in the French magazine Sciences et Avenir (19/02/2022)

Do animals understand what it means to die? — Interview for VICE magazine (02/02/2022)

Vegetarianismo: la dieta del futuro — Interview for the Spanish podcast Carne Cruda (24/01/2022)

Animals respond to death in many ways. Mourning might be one of them. — Interview for Discover Magazine (21/01/2022)

Entrevista a Susana Monsó: ¿Cómo se enfrentan los animales a la muerte? — Interview for the Spanish podcast Muy Interesante (04/01/2022)

Elephant fight club — Interview for the American podcast Water Cooler Talk (30/11/2021)

¿Entienden la muerte los animales? — Interview for the Spanish podcast Inaplicables (20/11/2021)

Holt volt, holt nem volt: a halál — Interview for the Hungarian magazine 168 Óra (31/10/2021)

‘Manche Tiere ahmen verwesende Leichen nach’ — Interview for the German newspaper Der Spiegel (30/10/2021)

Power and possums — Interview for the Australian national radio ABC (25/10/2021)

What can dogs, coyotes and opossums tell us about death? — Mention in the American blog Psychology Today (3/10/2021)

‘Playing possum’ shows animals know death — Mention in Nature’s newsletter Nature Briefing (21/09/2021)

Así pasan su duelo las madres primates cuando mueren sus bebés — Mention in the Spanish newspaper El Español (20/09/2021)

Cómo viven y entienden la muerte los animales — Interview for the Spanish radio Canal UNED (15/09/2021)

Experimentación con animales. El caso Vivotecnia y muchos más — Interview for the Spanish radio programme Carne Cruda (18/05/2021)

How does it feel to be a bee? The quest to understand animal sentience — Interview for Horizon, the EU magazine on research and innovation (16/02/2021)

Tánatos — Interview for the Spanish podcast Catástrofe Ultravioleta (01/12/2020)

No soy más listo porque no entreno — Interview for the Spanish magazine Muy Interesante (17/06/2020)

Animal ethics – mit Dr. Susana Monsó — Interview for the Austrian podcast Wuide Goas (05/05/2020)

Los animales también tienen conductas morales — Interview for the Mexican newspaper Diario de Yucatán (23/07/2019)

Herrera en COPE — Interview for the Spanish radio COPE (11/07/2019)

¿Tienen moral los animales? — Interview for the Spanish press agency EFE (picked up by the Spanish newspapers El Mundo and Público, among others) (02/07/2019)


You can download my CV by clicking here.