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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 Twitter, 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 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 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”.

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

Research

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.

I’m currently a Lise Meitner fellow at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, leading a project entitled ‘Animals and the Concept of Death.’ The purpose is to examine how nonhuman animals experience and understand death. The main research focus is a conceptual analysis of what understanding death amounts to, as well as an investigation of its cognitive requirements 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, devising experiments that can test the ideas developed in the course of the project.

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,’ which is led by Judith Benz-Schwarzburg and 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 devising new ways in which scientists can study these capacities, as well as mapping out the ethical implications of animal morality.

You can check out what I’ve written until now by having a look at my publications. In addition, here’s a list of works 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 the cognitive requirements of a concept of death, with Laura Danón.
  • A paper on the implications of the concept of death for the ethics of killing animals.
  • A book chapter on animal disenhancement, with Sara Hintze.
  • A pop-sci book on animals’ concept of death, commissioned by Plaza y Valdés.

Publications

Articles:

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. DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2020.1859100

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.

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.

Commentaries:

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. (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.): Utility, Progress, and Technology. 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.

Outreach:

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.

CV

You can download my CV by clicking here.