Irina Mikhalevich Headshot

Irina Mikhalevich

Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

Office Location

Irina Mikhalevich

Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts


BA, University of California at Berkley; Ph.D., Boston University


Irina Mikhalevich is a philosopher of science, cognitive science, and ethics who joined RIT as Assistant Professor in 2017. Her research focuses on conceptual and methodological problems in the science of animal minds and their implications for the moral status of nonhuman animals. 

She is currently working on several projects, including a project on the nature of scientific experimentation; another on the implications of invertebrate cognition research for the study of mind, meaning, and morality (tentatively titled, Minds Without Spines); and an ongoing investigation of simplicity preferences in science.

Irina received her Ph.D. from Boston University in 2014 under the supervision of Alisa Bokulich and Colin Allen (Pittsburgh), following which she held the McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) Program at Washington University in St. Louis (2014-2016) and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany (2016).

For more information, including publications and current projects, please visit her website at


Personal Links

Select Scholarship

Book Chapter
Mikhalevich, Irina. "Animal Cognition." Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Ed. Carolyn Dicey Jennings and Benjamin Young. London, UK: Routledge Press, 2021. N/A. Print.
Powell, Rachell, Irina Mikhalevich, and Allen Buchanan. "How the Moral Community Evolves." Rethinking Moral Status. Ed. Stephen Clarke and Julian Savulescu. Oxford, UK: OUP, 2021. N/A. Print.
Mikhalevich, Irina. "Simplicity in Cognitive Models: Avoiding Old Mistakes in New Experimental Contexts." The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Ed. Kristin Andrews and Jacob Beck. London, England: Taylor & Francis, 2017. 427-436. Print.
Journal Paper
Mikhalevich, Irina and R. Powell. "Minds without spines: Evolutionarily inclusive animal ethics." Animal Sentience 29. 1 (2020): N/A. Web.
Mikhalevich, Irina and R. Powell. "Affective sentience and moral protection." Animal Sentience 29. 35 (2020): N/A. Web.
Powell, Russell, et al. "Convergent Minds: The Evolution of Cognitive Complexity in Nature." Journal of the Royal Society, Interface Focus 3. 3 (2017): 20170029. Print.
Mikhalevich, Irina, Russell Powell, and Corina Logan. "Is Behavioral Flexibility Evidence of Cognitive Complexity? How Evolution Can Inform Comparative Cognition." Journal of the Royal Society, Interface Focus. (2017): 20160121. Print.
Mikhalevich, Irina and Russell Powell. "Sex, Lies and Gender." Journal of Medical Ethics 43. 1 (2016): 14-16. Print.
Mikhalevich, Irina. "Experiment and Animal Minds: Why the Choice of the Null Hypothesis Matters." Philosophy of Science 82. 5 (2015): 1059-1069. Print.
Mikhalevich, Irina. "Honor Among (the Beneficiaries of) Thieves." Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18. 2 (2015): 385—402. Print.
(\"Meketa\"), Irina Mikhalevich. "A Critique of the Principle of Cognitive Simplicity in Comparative Cognition." Biology and Philosophy 29. 5 (2014): 731—745. Print.
Invited Paper
Mikhalevich, Irina. "Consciousness, Evidence, and Moral standing." Animal Sentience. (2017). Web.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
Examines some area of philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level. The area examined may vary from semester to semester. The seminar is designed especially for those whose interest in philosophy goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum.
3 Credits
This course examines ethical questions that arise in the course of day-to-day individual and social life. Some consideration will be given to ethical theory and its application to such questions, but emphasis will be on basic moral questions and practical issues. Examples of typical issues to be examined are: What are the grounds for moral obligations like keeping promises or obeying the law? How do we reason about what to do? Examples of typical moral issues that may be introduced are capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, corporate responsibility, the treatment of animals, and so forth.