Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Mark Rowlands

Second Committee Member

Michael Slote

Third Committee Member

Colin McGinn

Fourth Committee Member

Hans-Johann Glock


I defend the view that some nonhuman animals can be morally motivated by empathic emotions. First, I argue that we are justified in ascribing to some animals phenomenal consciousness, the conceptual capacities to represent values and intentional objects, and the relevant behavioral and physiological similarities to human emotional states. Subsequently, I argue for a model of basic emotions that I call the Awareness of Physiological Vehicles (APV) account. According to the APV account, an animal’s emotion is best thought of as a focal awareness of an intentional object and a peripheral awareness of sensations of physiological states as indicators of value. Next, I address various skeptical worries from Cognitivist and Kantian views of moral motivation that without the capacities for critical self-scrutiny of actions and motivations animals cannot be morally motivated. Finally, I give two compatible and plausible explanations for why we are justified in ascribing moral motivation to animals in the absence of being able to justifiably morally praise or blame them for exhibiting emotionally motivated behaviors. I conclude by considering some moral and experimental implications of this view of animals as complex emotional and moral beings.


Animal Minds; Emotions; Animal Emotions, Morality; Moral Motivation; Moral Emotions; Animal Consciousness; Sentimentalism; Empathy.