Nico Dario Müller


 In 2016 I completed my MA degree in Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Zurich. My thesis, supervised by Peter Schaber, argued that Kant’s animal ethical position is inconsistent because it assumed both that duties towards animals are unintelligible and that they are intelligible. My PhD thesis tackles the issue from the other end: If Kant’s animal ethical position is not a satisfactory Kantian treatment of animal ethics, what is? I investigate this matter under the supervision of Markus Wild (Basel) and Jens Timmermann (St Andrews), and I am glad to be funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Doc.CH programme.

Research Interests

Areas of Specialisation:
Animal ethics, Kantian ethics, animal agency.

Areas of Competence: Ethics, epistemology, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophical methodology.

PhD Thesis

Respect for Foxes and Hedgehogs: Animal Agency and Kantian Ethics of Respect (Start: Spring 2017)

Thesis Abstract

Kant's moral philosophy is a predominant paradigm in contemporary ethics. However, one thing modern readers of Kant are often unimpressed with is his account of animal ethics. The question this dissertation attempts to answer is: What if we took Kant's moral philosophy and modified it so that it can account for respect for nonhuman animals? In answering this question, I provide an in-depth account of the relation between Kant's views about what animals are and his views about how we ought to treat them. By bringing together Kant's philosophy with the newest advances in the philosophy of animal minds and animal agency, I then provide a new framework for animal ethics which I call the Ethics of Respect.

Teaching, employments and projects


Nov 2016 - Feb 2017: Project participant at the UZH Center for Ethics (project “Ethische Probleme des Medizintourismus in der Schweiz” commissioned by the Schweizerische Akademie der Medizinischen Wissenschaften SAMW)

Sept 2014 - Sept 2016: Teaching assistant at the UZH Department of Philosophy (seven tutorials in philosophy, including one on Kant's Doctrine of Virtue, two on animal ethics, and one on introductory ethics; chairs of Profs. Peter Schaber, Katia Saporiti, and Francis Cheneval ) 

Sept 2014 - Feb 2016: Student Assistant at the UZH Center for Ethics (chair of Prof. Christoph Halbig)

Sept 2013 - Sept 2016: Co-founder and organiser of an annual philosophy student’s lecture series at the UZH: “Thought-Experiments” (ST 2014), “Disagreement” (ST 2015), and “Philosophy of Pain” (ST 2016)

Sept 2013 - Feb 2014: Teaching assistant at the ETH Zurich Institute for Environmental Decisions (two tutorials on introductory philosophy of science, chair of Prof. Gertrude Hirsch-Hadorn)


 Under review:

“Animal Boredom, Mental States, and Evaluation”

“Die tierliche Rechtsperson: Warum und wie?” (review of Saskia Stucki’s “Grundrechte für Tiere”)