Nicolas Delon

Assistant Professor

Address: 14 Glebe St, Room 301
Personal Website:

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 animal agency and the relational structure of the moral community. 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. 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, as well as in the philosophy of death and the ethics of killing, action theory and moral responsibility, and Nietzsche.

In 2017-18, I was a Law & Philosophy Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. From 2014-2017, I was Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow for the Animal Studies Initiative in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University. I earned my doctorate in Philosophy (under the supervision of Sandra Laugier) at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (PhiCo) in 2014. From 2010-13 I was a doctoral student, teaching fellow, and member of the CURAPP at the University of Picardie Jules Verne. I also graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), passed the ‘Agrégation’ in philosophy (a national competitive exam), and earned an MA in 'History of European Legal Thought’ (Paris 1, 2010).


When I'm not reading, writing or corrupting undergraduate minds, I cherish spending time with my wife, our two daughters, and our two cats, cooking vegan meals, running short, long, and even longer distances, riding my bike, and listening to all sorts of music (classical, jazz, punk rock, hardcore, among others). Nietzsche was right: life without music would be a mistake.


Doctorate, Philosophy, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, EA 3562 PhiCo

2010-13: PhD student at Université de Picardie Jules Verne, CURAPP (UMR 7319)
Summa cum laude (mention très honorable, félicitations du jury). Supervisor: Sandra Laugier 

Ecole Normale Supérieure, Ulm - AL 2005 - Philosophy (major) / Law (minor), 2005-10

Agrégation in Philosophy, 2008

        National competitive exam for teachers recruitment; rank 6 (40 admitted)

Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
        Master 2 (MA), Comparative Law, ’History of European Legal Thought’, summa cum laude,             2008-10
        Master 2 (MA), Philosophy, ‘Philosophy & Society’, summa cum laude, 2008-9
        Master 1 and Licence 3 (BA), Philosophy, 2005-7

Oxford University, Visitor, Maison Française & Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics March, 2012

Columbia University, Nondegree student, Graduate School of Arts & Science, 2009-10

Research Interests

  • Environmental ethics
  • Animal ethics
  • Social, political and legal philosophy
  • History of philosophy
  • Animal minds
  • Environmental studies
  • Food


I edit these categories on Philpapers:
Animal Captivity
Domestic Animals
Moral Status of Animals
Varieties of Value, Misc
The Value of Lives
The Meaning of Life
The Value of Lives, Misc

Articles (* = invited)

  1. Letting animals off the hook, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (forthcoming) [accepted version]
  2. Strangers to ourselves: A Nietzschean challenge to the badness of suffering, Inquiry (2022) [eprint] [accepted version]
  3. * Wild animal ethics: well-being, agency, and freedom (commentary on K. Johannsen, Wild Animal Ethics, Routledge, 2020), Philosophia (2021) [link]
  4. Animal capabilities and freedom in the city, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (2021) [eprint]
  5. * Consider the agent in the arthropod (w/ P. Cook. G. Bauer & H. Harley) (re Mikhalevich and Powell 2020), Animal Sentience (2020) [open access]
  6. Pervasive captivity and urban wildlife, Ethics, Policy & Environment (2020) [eprint]
  7. Valuing humane lives in two-level utilitarianism, Utilitas (2020) [eprint]
  8. Le problème de la souffrance chez Nietzsche et Parfit, Klêsis (2019) [open access]
  9. * Beyond the personhood paradigm (re Thompson, Supporting Ape Rights), ASEBL Journal (2019) [open access]
  10. * Setting the bar higher (re Neuhaus & Parent, Gene Doping – in Animals?), Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (2019) [final draft] [link]
  11. Social norms and farm animal protection, Palgrave Communications (2018) [open access]
  12. * Animal agency, captivity and meaning, Harvard Review of Philosophy (2018) [link] [pdf]
  13. Wild animal suffering is intractable (with Duncan Purves), Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics (2018) [link]
  14. Meaning in the lives of humans and other animals (with Duncan Purves), Philosophical Studies (2018) [link]
  15. * L'animal d'élevage compagnon de travail: l'éthique des fables alimentaires, Revue française d'éthique appliquée (2017) [link]
  16. The values behind calculating the value of trophy hunting (with Jennifer Jacquet) (re Naidoo et al, 2016), Conservation Biology (2016) [link] [pdf]
  17. Un Singer peut-il en remplacer un autre ?, Klêsis (2016) [open access]
  18. * Etudes animales : une perspective transatlantique, Tracés : Revue de Sciences Humaines (2015) [link]
  19. * La mort : un mal non nécessaire, surtout pour les animaux heureux !, Revue semestrielle de droit animalier (2014) [link]
  20. Moral status, final value, and extrinsic properties, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (2014) [link]
  21. Pour une éthique animale descriptive, Klêsis (2013) [open access]


  1. The value of death for animals: an overview, The Ethics of Animal Shelters, eds. V. Giroux, A. Pepper, K. Voigt. Oxford University Press (2023) [penultimate draft]
  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)


  • Social norms and eating animals: What they are and how they help and hinder farmed animal advocacy (w/ Zoe Griffiths and Courtney Dillard), Mercy for Animals (2022) [pdf]
  • 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]