Nicolas Delon

Philosophy, Animals, Environment

I work in ethics, and focus on connections between value theory and moral status, animals and the environment. In recent years, I've been especially interested in animal agency, its various forms, and its implications for moral status. Some of that work is informing a current book project on the relational structure of the community of persons, including nonhuman animals. I argue that members of the moral community are bound by directed duties, which need not be reciprocal, which are owed to many animals, and which should take into consideration not just sentience but agency. Some of these animals, I argue, can even be considered persons. In "Directed duties and nonhuman personhood" (draft) I motivate the view that forms the backbone of the project. In much of my recent work, I argue that agency is an important independent source of moral claims in animals. I also have interests in metaethics, experimental philosophy, psychology, and how they bear on the descriptive and normative aspects of our relations to other entities, in the philosophy of death and the ethics of killing, and in the philosophy of suffering and Nietzsche.

Email me for preprints or published versions if you cannot access them.


  1. Strangers to ourselves: A Nietzschean challenge to the badness of suffering. Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (2022) [eprint] [accepted version]
  2. Animal capabilities and freedom in the city. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (2021) [eprint]
  3. Pervasive captivity and urban wildlife, Ethics, Policy & Environment (2020) [eprint]
  4. Valuing humane lives in two-level utilitarianism, Utilitas (2020) [eprint]
  5. Le problème de la souffrance chez Nietzsche et Parfit, Klêsis (2019) [open access]
  6. Social norms and farm animal protection, Palgrave Communications (2018) [open access]
  7. Animal agency, captivity and meaning, Harvard Review of Philosophy (2018) [link] [pdf]
  8. Wild animal suffering is intractable (with Duncan Purves), Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics (2018) [link]
  9. Meaning in the lives of humans and other animals (with Duncan Purves), Philosophical Studies (2018) [link]
  10. L'animal d'élevage compagnon de travail: l'éthique des fables alimentaires, Revue française d'éthique appliquée (2017) [link]
  11. Un Singer peut-il en remplacer un autre ?, Klêsis (2016) [open access]
  12. Etudes animales : une perspective transatlantique, Tracés : Revue de Sciences Humaines (2015) [link]
  13. La mort : un mal non nécessaire, surtout pour les animaux heureux !, Revue semestrielle de droit animalier (2014) [link]
  14. Moral status, final value, and extrinsic properties, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (2014) [link]
  15. Pour une éthique animale descriptive, Klêsis (2013) [open access]

Replies and Commentaries

  1. Wild animal ethics: well-being, agency, and freedom (re K. Johannsen, Wild Animal Ethics, Routledge, 2020), Philosophia (2021) [link]
  2. Consider the agent in the arthropod (w/ P. Cook. G. Bauer & H. Harley) (re Mikhalevich and Powell 2020), Animal Sentience (2020) [open access]
  3. Beyond the personhood paradigm (re Thompson, Supporting Ape Rights), ASEBL Journal (2019) [open access]
  4. Setting the bar higher (re Neuhaus & Parent, Gene Doping – in Animals?), Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (2019) [final draft] [link]
  5. The values behind calculating the value of trophy hunting (with Jennifer Jacquet) (re Naidoo et al, 2016), Conservation Biology (2016) [link] [pdf]


  1. The value of death for animals: an overview (forthcoming) [penultimate draft] (The Ethics of Animal Shelters, eds. V. Giroux, A. Pepper, K. Voigt, Oxford University Press)
  2. Statut moral et vulnérabilité animale, Animalité et vulnérabilité, S. Bouchard, E. Utria, eds. Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre (2021) [penultimate draft]
  3. The meaning of animal labour, Animal Labour: A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice?, C. Blattner, K. Coulter, W. Kymlicka, eds. Oxford University Press (2020) [penultimate draft]
  4. The Replaceability Argument in the ethics of animal husbandry, Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, D. Kaplan & P. B. Thompson. eds. 2nd ed., Springer (2016) [link] [pdf]
  5. L'éthique animale en contexte, Recherches sur la philosophie et le langage, M. Jouan & J.-Y. Goffi eds., Vrin (2016)
  6. La sensibilité en éthique animale, entre faits et valeurs, Sensibilités animales - Perspectives juridiques, R. Bismuth & F. Marchadier eds., CNRS (2015)
  7. Against moral intrinsicalism, Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy, E. Aaltola & J. Hadley eds., Rowman & Littlefield (2015) [penultimate draft]
  8. Handicap et animaux, Tous vulnérables ? Le care, les animaux et l'environnement, S. Laugier ed., Payot-Rivages (2012)

Scientific report

  • Animal Consciousness (P. Le Neindre, E. Bernard, A. Boissy, X. Boivin, L. Calandreau, N. Delon, B. Deputte, S. Desmoulin-Canselier, M. Dunier, N. Faivre, M. Giurfa, JL Guichet, L Lansade, R. Larrère, P. Mormède, P. Prunet, B. Schaal, J. Servière, & C. Terlouw), EFSA Supporting Publication (2017) [open access]

Popular audience

  1. Punk rock et libération animale (forthcoming) [draft] (Penser le punk, ed. C. Guesde, PUF)
  2. Scarlet letters: Meat, Normality, and the Power of Shame, Books & Ideas (2019) [open acess]
  3. Les cartographies de l'éthique animale, S'engager pour les animaux, F. Carrié & C. Traïni. eds. PUF (2019) [final draft]
  4. Une théorie morale peut-elle être cognitivement trop exigeante ?, Implications Philosophiques (2015) [open access]

Work in Progress

  1. (Paper on animal morality and responsibility) (under review)
  2. Directed duties and nonhuman personhood (draft)
  3. Sports and games as models of interspecies justice (draft)
  4. Procreation, killing, replaceability (in preparation)
  5. Animal minds and epistemic risks (in preparation)
  6. Agency, welfare, and moral status (in preparation)
  7. Meaningful lives, complicity, and collective harms (in preparation)

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