NYU Mind, Ethics, and Policy Program


The NYU Mind, Ethics, and Policy Program conducts and supports foundational research on the nature and intrinsic value of nonhuman minds, including biological and artificial minds.

At present, the world contains quintillions of nonhuman animals. Human activity is increasingly shaping the lives of these animals, by determining whether they can exist and what kinds of lives they can have if they do. And in the future, nonhuman populations might be much larger, and might include advanced artificial intelligences as well.

These trends raise important questions at the intersection of mind, ethics, and policy. Which nonhumans are conscious, sentient, and sapient? What kind of moral, legal, and political status should they have? How can humans build a positive future for the vast multiplicity of potentially morally significant beings who might one day exist?

These questions, in turn, require us to confront some of the hardest problems in science, philosophy, and policy. What is the nature of consciousness? Can we have knowledge about other minds? Can we make welfare comparisons across species? What do we owe members of other nations, generations, species, and substrates?

Our aim is to advance understanding of the consciousness, sentience, sapience, moral status, legal status, and political status of nonhumans—biological as well as artificial—in a rigorous, systematic, and integrative manner. We intend to pursue this goal via research, teaching, outreach, and field building in science, philosophy, and policy.

MEP launched in Fall 2022. We are currently developing a research agenda, and will be holding events throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. If you wish to follow our work, you can enter your email in the form at the bottom of this page. If you might like to participate in our work, please contact Jeff Sebo or Sofia Fogel to discuss.

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to advance understanding of the sentience and moral status of nonhumans, including animals and AIs.

Our vision is a world in which all sentient and morally significant beings are treated with respect and compassion.