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Kantianism for Animals

A Radical Kantian Animal Ethic

Palgrave Macmillan
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

  • Aims to make Kant more usable for animal ethicists

  • Argues that one can accept most of Kant’s central philosophical commitments without denying duties towards animals

  • Provides a framework for application of Kantian tools to major issues in animal ethics

Part of the book series: The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series (PMAES)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxi
  2. Kantian Foundations

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. What Is Promising About a Radical Kantian Animal Ethic

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 3-24Open Access
    3. Kantian Moral Concern, Love, and Respect

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 25-57Open Access
    4. The Case Against Kant’s ‘Indirect Duty’ Approach

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 59-86Open Access
  3. Building Kantianism for Animals

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 87-87
    2. Is the Formula of Humanity the Problem?

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 89-126Open Access
    3. Animals and the ‘Directionality’ of Duties

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 127-152Open Access
    4. Kantian Moral Patients Without Practical Reason?

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 153-174Open Access
    5. Kantianism for Animals: The Framework in Five Claims

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 175-187Open Access
  4. Using the Framework

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 189-189
    2. A Kantian Argument Against Using Animals

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 191-206Open Access
    3. A Kantian Argument Against Eating Animals

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 207-220Open Access
    4. A Kantian Argument Against Environmental Destruction

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 221-234Open Access
    5. Animal Ethics and the Philosophical Canon: A Proposal

      • Nico Dario Müller
      Pages 235-241Open Access
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 243-245

About this book

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. 


  • Animal Ethics
  • Kant
  • Autonomy
  • Respect
  • Duties to Animals
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Open Access


Kantianism for Animals is an excellent book. In rigorous yet accessible prose, it clearly explains how Kantian ethics works, what makes this theory compelling, and what makes this theory compatible with a radical vision for animal rights. Kantians and non-Kantians alike will benefit from reading this book and incorporating its many insights into their thinking about what we owe other animals.” (Jeff Sebo, Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, Philosophy, and Law, New York University, USA)

“Müller's arguments merit attention from Kantians generally, not only from those seeking to establish duties to animals. Noteworthy aspects of Müller's approach include his distinction between bases of moral respect and moral concern, his account of the directionality of ethical duties, his grounding duties to animals in the obligatory end of others' happiness, and his exclusively first-personal account of the authority of morality.” (Lara Denis, Professor of Philosophy, Agnes Scott College, USA)

“This is a very original contribution that does something quite different from previous animal-friendly versions of Kantianism, say as found in books by Tom Regan or Christine Korsgaard.  The author has considered all of the recent scholarship as well as Kant’s texts themselves.  Further, Müller treats in detail nuanced distinctions made by Kant that are frequently either ignored or misunderstood.” (Daniel A. Dombrowski, Professor of Philosophy, Seattle University, USA)

“With this book, Nico Müller proposes a completely new approach to Kantian animal ethics. His argument has the great advantage of reading the Kantian text competently and rigorously, avoiding instrumental interpretations of Kant's thought. His 'Kantianism for Animals' is one of the most convincing proposals so far advanced for a deontological approach in animal and environmental ethics.” (Federica Basaglia, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Konstanz, Germany)

“This original work is a major contribution to the field of Kantian animal ethics. Müller’s revisionist approach challenges popular readings and shows how constructive an adjusted version of Kantianism can be for animal ethics. His radical agenda is an imperative for Kantians and animal ethicists. Müller argues in a careful and refreshingly original way that animals merit moral attention, in the same way and for the same reasons as human beings.” (Samuel Camenzind, Senior Scientist, University of Vienna, Austria)

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

    Nico Dario Müller

About the author

Nico Dario Müller is a philosopher and postdoctoral researcher in ethics at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Kantianism for Animals

  • Book Subtitle: A Radical Kantian Animal Ethic

  • Authors: Nico Dario Müller

  • Series Title: The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Religion (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-01929-6Published: 16 July 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-01932-6Published: 16 July 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-01930-2Published: 15 July 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2634-6672

  • Series E-ISSN: 2634-6680

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXI, 245

  • Topics: Animal Ethics, Moral Philosophy and Applied Ethics

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)