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Susana Monsó
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
  1. Animal Moral Psychologies.Susana Monsó & Kristin Andrews - forthcoming - In John M. Doris & Manuel Vargas (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Observations of animals engaging in apparently moral behavior have led academics and the public alike to ask whether morality is shared between humans and other animals. Some philosophers explicitly argue that morality is unique to humans, because moral agency requires capacities that are only demonstrated in our species. Other philosophers argue that some animals can participate in morality because they possess these capacities in a rudimentary form. Scientists have also joined the discussion, and their views are just as varied as (...)
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  2. Problems with Basing Insect Ethics on Individuals’ Welfare.Susana Monsó & Antonio José Osuna Mascaró - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (8).
    In their target article, Mikhalevich & Powell (M&P) argue that we should extend moral protection to arthropods. In this commentary, we show that there are some unforeseen obstacles to applying the sort of individualistic welfare-based ethics that M&P have in mind to certain arthropods, namely, insects. These obstacles have to do with the fact that there are often many more individuals involved in our dealings with insects than our ethical theories anticipate, and also with the fact that, in some sense, (...)
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  3.  79
    How to Tell If Animals Can Understand Death.Susana Monsó - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    It is generally assumed that humans are the only animals who can possess a concept of death. However, the ubiquity of death in nature and the evolutionary advantages that would come with an understanding of death provide two prima facie reasons for doubting this assumption. In this paper, my intention is not to defend that animals of this or that nonhuman species possess a concept of death, but rather to examine how we could go about empirically determining whether animals can (...)
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  4. Morality Without Mindreading.Susana Monsó - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (3):338-357.
    Could animals behave morally if they can’t mindread? Does morality require mindreading capacities? Moral psychologists believe mindreading is contingently involved in moral judgements. Moral philosophers argue that moral behaviour necessarily requires the possession of mindreading capacities. In this paper, I argue that, while the former may be right, the latter are mistaken. Using the example of empathy, I show that animals with no mindreading capacities could behave on the basis of emotions that possess an identifiable moral content. Therefore, at least (...)
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  5. Empathy and Morality in Behaviour Readers.Susana Monsó - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):671-690.
    It is tempting to assume that being a moral creature requires the capacity to attribute mental states to others, because a creature cannot be moral unless she is capable of comprehending how her actions can have an impact on the well-being of those around her. If this assumption were true, then mere behaviour readers could never qualify as moral, for they are incapable of conceptualising mental states and attributing them to others. In this paper, I argue against such an assumption (...)
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  6.  95
    An Alternative to the Orthodoxy in Animal Ethics? Limits and Merits of the Wittgensteinian Critique of Moral Individualism.Susana Monsó & Herwig Grimm - 2019 - Animals 12 (9):1057.
    In this paper, we analyse the Wittgensteinian critique of the orthodoxy in animal ethics that has been championed by Cora Diamond and Alice Crary. While Crary frames it as a critique of “moral individualism”, we show that their criticism applies most prominently to certain forms of moral individualism (namely, those that follow hedonistic or preference-satisfaction axiologies), and not to moral individualism in itself. Indeed, there is a concrete sense in which the moral individualistic stance cannot be escaped, and we believe (...)
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  7. Animal Morality: What It Means and Why It Matters.Susana Monsó, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg & Annika Bremhorst - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (3-4):283-310.
    It has been argued that some animals are moral subjects, that is, beings who are capable of behaving on the basis of moral motivations. In this paper, we do not challenge this claim. Instead, we presuppose its plausibility in order to explore what ethical consequences follow from it. Using the capabilities approach, we argue that beings who are moral subjects are entitled to enjoy positive opportunities for the flourishing of their moral capabilities, and that the thwarting of these capabilities entails (...)
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  8.  67
    How Dogs Perceive Humans and How Humans Should Treat Their Pet Dogs: Linking Cognition with Ethics.Judith Benz-Schwarzburg, Susana Monsó & Ludwig Huber - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Humans interact with animals in numerous ways and on numerous levels. We are indeed living in an “animal”s world,’ in the sense that our lives are very much intertwined with the lives of animals. This also means that animals, like those dogs we commonly refer to as our pets, are living in a “human’s world” in the sense that it is us, not them, who, to a large degree, define and manage the interactions we have with them. In this sense, (...)
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  9. Death is Common, so is Understanding It: The Concept of Death in Other Species.Susana Monsó & Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Comparative thanatologists study the responses to the dead and the dying in nonhuman animals. Despite the wide variety of thanatological behaviours that have been documented in several different species, comparative thanatologists assume that the concept of death (CoD) is very difficult to acquire and will be a rare cognitive feat once we move past the human species. In this paper, we argue that this assumption is based on two forms of anthropocentrism: (1) an intellectual anthropocentrism, which leads to an over-intellectualisation (...)
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  10.  71
    Humans Are Superior — by Human Standards.Susana Monsó - 2019 - Animal Sentience 23 (17).
    Chapman & Huffman argue that humans are neither unique nor superior to other animals. I believe they are right in claiming that we are no more unique than any other species, but wrong in assuming that this means we cannot be ranked as superior. I show how this need not undermine the central aim of their target article, for superiority can only be measured with respect to a certain standard, and it’s only by using anthropocentric standards that we can be (...)
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  11. Tactful Animals: How the Study of Touch Can Inform the Animal Morality Debate.Susana Monsó & Birte Wrage - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-27.
    In this paper, we argue that scientists working on the animal morality debate have been operating with a narrow view of morality that prematurely limits the variety of moral practices that animals may be capable of. We show how this bias can be partially corrected by paying more attention to the touch behaviours of animals. We argue that a careful examination of the ways in which animals engage in and navigate touch interactions can shed new light on current debates on (...)
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  12.  27
    To Be Rational, or Not to Be Rational—That is the Question: Michael Tye: Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs: Are Animals Conscious? New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 256pp, $29.95 HB. [REVIEW]Susana Monsó - 2017 - Metascience 26 (3):487-491.
    Review of Michael Tye: Tense bees and shell-shocked crabs: Are animals conscious? New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 256pp, $29.95 HB.
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  13.  38
    The Moral Dimension of Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness.Susana Monsó - 2016 - Animal Sentience 1 (10).
    Rowlands offers a de-intellectualised account of personhood that is meant to secure the unity of a mental life. I argue that his characterisation also singles out a morally relevant feature of individuals. Along the same lines that the orthodox understanding of personhood reflects a fundamental precondition for moral agency, Rowlands’s notion provides a fundamental precondition for moral patienthood.
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  14.  11
    Varieties of Empathy: Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics by Elisa Aaltola.Susana Monsó - 2019 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 12 (2):185-187.
    If any one thing characterizes contemporary debates on empathy, it is the amount of literature devoted purely to defining the term. The definitional disagreement is such that it has even been claimed that “there are probably nearly as many definitions of empathy as people working on the topic”. Anyone attempting to contribute to the empathy debates will know that this claim is only barely an exaggeration. “Empathy” can refer to a neural mechanism, a form of social cognition, a moral motivation, (...)
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  15. Edible Insects – Defining Knowledge Gaps in Biological and Ethical Considerations of Entomophagy.Isabella Pali-Schöll, Regina Binder, Yves Moens, Friedrich Polesny & Susana Monsó - 2019 - Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 17 (59):2760-2771.
    While seeking novel food sources to feed the increasing population of the globe, several alternatives have been discussed, including algae, fungi or in vitro meat. The increasingly propagated usage of farmed insects for human nutrition raises issues regarding food safety, consumer information and animal protection. In line with law, insects like any other animals must not be reared or manipulated in a way that inflicts unnecessary pain, distress or harm on them. Currently, there is a great need for research in (...)
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  16.  92
    Animals as Reflexive Thinkers: The Aponoian Paradigm.Mark Rowlands & Susana Monsó - 2017 - In Linda Kalof (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 319-341.
    The ability to engage in reflexive thought—in thought about thought or about other mental states more generally—is regarded as a complex intellectual achievement that is beyond the capacities of most nonhuman animals. To the extent that reflexive thought capacities are believed necessary for the possession of many other psychological states or capacities, including consciousness, belief, emotion, and empathy, the inability of animals to engage in reflexive thought calls into question their other psychological abilities. This chapter attacks the idea that reflexive (...)
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