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William Gildea

Philosophy, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Animal Rights and the Welfare They Protect

My PhD thesis asks what moral rights are based on and what this means for humans and animals.

We tend to assume that people have a higher moral status than non-human animals because of our more developed psychological capacities. This is in tension with the idea that the moral rights possessed by persons are equal in strength, even if they hold psychological capacities to differing degrees. My thesis aims to develop a new account of the relation between our moral rights and psychological capacities, which can resolve our intuitive judgements in a theoretically attractive way.

This account will then be leveraged to help us to answer applied questions in animal ethics, including those concerning meat production and animal suffering in the wild.

Research Area

  • Philosophy


As well as presenting at graduate conferences, I have presented my work at the following academic conferences.

  • Humans and Other Animals Conference, Carlow, Ireland (2017)
  • Eating Animals Conference, Centre for Practical Normatvity, University of Kent (2017)
  • The Ethics of Fur, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, University of Oxford (2017).


I have a B.Phil. in Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Warwick. Before returning to Warwick, I worked in food policy for an NGO.