On a tree with a Kea parrot


Similar to the topic of my PhD, my research interests span across many different fields of study broadly grouped under the following three topics:

Philosophy of Well-being

Most of the published philosophical research on well-being addresses questions of prudential value in humans according to different accounts of it. While I believe these questions are important to ask for the good of our own species, their implications are not always clear for nonhumans (e.g., animals, plants, artificial minds) and are worth investigating. I am also interested in exploring the relationship between these theories and concepts of welfare discussed in animal welfare science, and the conditions that might be required for an entity to be considered a welfare subject by any and all of these accounts.

Animal Sentience

Until recently, research analysing the possible sentience of non-mammals (e.g., fish, insects) has been sparse and met with an unhealthy dose of scepticism. Changing attitudes toward these animals and the validity of scientific research concerning their possible mental states has introduced a host of ethical questions related to their consideration, such as the significance of uncertain values when deriving moral prescriptions concerning them. Further, it is unclear how much of this research ought to be interpreted according to different ontological and metaphysical accounts of mental states that are often assumed but not discussed explicitly.

Philosophy of Biology

In the life sciences, it is common to regard wild animals as functioning collectives rather than as individuals with their own well-being. Understanding how prudentially good or bad the lives of wild animals are in their natural conditions is not only an important epistemic question to ask, but also has implications for how we conceive of our ethical attitudes toward wildlife and the environment. I am interested in researching how wild animal welfare might be studied empirically, and other related questions in Philosophy of Biology.


Ph.D. Wild Animal Well-being, University of Otago
2019 - ongoing

Visiting Doctoral Student, University of Oxford

M.A. (Philosophy), University of Amsterdam
2017 - 2018

University Exchange, University of British Columbia

B.Sc. (Philosophy), University of Canterbury
2015 - 2017

Recent publications

The Case for Welfare Biology
Soryl, A., 2021. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 5 (7).

Establishing a research field in natural sciences
2020. Animal Ethics, Oakland.

Invertebrate welfare in the wild
Soryl, A., 2020. Animal Sentience, 5 (29).

Speaking on a panel