Dr. Nico Müller

Assistent / PostDoc (Professur Wild)


Steinengraben 5
4051 Basel


My work focuses on fundamental questions of animal ethics, such as “How can humans have moral obligations to animals?” and “What does justice for all species require?” For my PhD, I wrote a book about “Kantianism for Animals,” engaging with the reason-based ethics of Immanuel Kant. This was a Doc.CH project and my supervisors were Markus Wild (Basel) and Jens Timmermann (St Andrews). Before that, I did my MA in philosophy and sociology at the University of Zurich, finishing with a thesis in animal ethics. My current research interests include the relation between Utopias and “nonideal theories” in animal ethics, the philosophy of the animal rights movement, and animal research ethics.

Research Interests

Animal Ethics, Kantian Ethics, Animal Research Ethics

PhD Thesis


Kantianism for Animals: A Radical Kantian Animal Ethic (March 2017 – December 2020)


This open access book revises Kant’s ethical thought in one of its most notorious respects: its exclusion of animals from moral consideration. The book gives readers in animal ethics an accessible introduction to Kant’s views on our duties to others, and his view that we have only ‘indirect’ duties regarding animals. It then investigates how one would have to depart from Kant in order to recognise that animals matter morally for their own sake. Particular attention is paid to Kant’s ‘Formula of Humanity,' the role of autonomy and the moral law, as well as Kant’s notions of practical reason and animal instinct. The result is a deliberately amended version of Kantianism which nevertheless remains faithful to central aspects of Kant’s thought. The book’s final part illustrates the framework’s use in applied contexts, addressing the issues of using animals as mere means, the ethics of veganism and vegetarianism, and environmental protection. Nico Dario Müller shows how, when furnished with duties to animals, Kant's moral philosophy can be a powerful resource for animal ethicists. 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Müller, N. D. (2022). Kantianism for Animals: A Radical Kantian Animal Ethic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Link

– (2022). “Korsgaard’s Duties towards Animals: Two Difficulties.” Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 10(1), S. 9–26. Link

– (2022). “From Here to Utopia: Theories of Change in Nonideal Animal Ethics.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 35(4), 21. Link

– (2021). “Wenn Tiere bloße Mittel zum Zweck sind.” Tierstudien 20, S.167–169.

– (2020). “Haben Tiere Rechte?.” Zeitschrift für philosophische Literatur 8(3), S.50–56. Link

– (2018). “Animal Boredom.” In: Thompson, P; Kaplan, D. (eds.): Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, S. 1–5.

– (2018). “Kants Gesamtwerk in neuer Perspektive. ” Zeitschrift für philosophische Literatur 6(2), S. 40–46. Link

– (2017). “Die tierliche Rechtsperson: Warum und Wie?” Tierstudien 11, S. 164–165.