Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Forthcoming Book


Contains my paper, "Tom Regan on 'Kind Arguments' Against Animal Rights and For Human Rights."Lexington Books
Pages: 320 • Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-3190-0 • Hardback • March 2016 • $100.00 • (£70.00)
978-1-4985-3191-7 • eBook • March 2016 • $99.99 • (£70.00) (coming soon)

Monday, November 23, 2015 

The American Journal of Bioethics

Volume 15Issue 10, 2015

Review of Jonathan Kahn, Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in the Post-Genomic Age1
Book Review

Review of Jonathan Kahn, Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in the Post-Genomic Age1

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Nathan Nobisa*
pages W4-W5

Monday, July 20, 2015

Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating

Now available for pre-order on Amazon: 

Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating Paperback – December 2, 2015

ISBN-13: 978-0415806831  ISBN-10: 0415806836 

My and Dan Hooley's paper "An Argument for Veganism" is in this book. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Help Wanted

Intro Philosophy Books and Race

Nathan Nobis (Morehouse) writes in with a request:
I am seeking help with a small research project regarding race and philosophy. This project would be to (a) make a list of introductory philosophy and ethics textbooks and anthologies and (b) review those books to see what content they have regarding race. This is to find out what readings various anthologies contain that address issues about race. If you would be interested in helping with this project, please email me at

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Animals & Ethics 101

A book in process, based primarily on the "lectures" I developed for an online animals and ethics course. This will be an open access text, freely available electronically. Here's a draft of the back cover text:
Ethics & Animals 101 helps readers identify and evaluate the arguments for and against various uses of animals, such as:
Is it morally wrong to experiment on animals? Why or why not? 
Is it morally permissible to eat meat? Why or why not? 
Are we morally obligated to provide pets with veterinary care (and, if so, how much?)? Why or why not?
And other challenging issues and questions. 
Developed as a companion volume to an online Animals & Ethics course,  it is ideal for classroom use, discussion groups or self study.  The book presupposes no conclusions on these controversial moral questions about the treatment of animals, and argues for none either. Its goal is help the reader better engage the issues and arguments on all sides with greater clarity, understanding and argumentative rigor. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

More Experimental Bioethics

"Expectations for methodology and translation of animal research: a survey of health care workers,"

Ari R Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton and Nathan Nobis, BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:29

"Health care workers (HCW) often perform, promote, and advocate use of public funds for animal research (AR); therefore, an awareness of the empirical costs and benefits of animal research is an important issue for HCW. We aim to determine what health-care-workers consider should be acceptable standards of AR methodology and translation rate to humans. . . . HCW have high expectations for the methodological quality of, and the translation rate to humans of findings from AR. These expectations are higher than the empirical data show having been achieved. Unless these areas of AR significantly improve, HCW support of AR may be tenuous."

Thursday, April 02, 2015

HSUS Animal Studies Repository

The Humane Society of the United States has created an "Animal Studies Repository" of academic writings concerning animal issues:  My profile is here:   If you are a scholar who writes on animal issues and would like your own profile, you can contact the archive manager here to set that up:

Thursday, March 19, 2015


My acting debut!

Toward Revitalization at Human Scale in Atlanta

This summary is a part of Atlanta’s application to a City Accelerator cohort on engagement. Your feedback on the videos will inform final selection of the cities. Give the videos a star rating and leave comments below!
What is Atlanta proposing?
The city of Atlanta, a finalist in the second round of the City Accelerator, is focused on finding better, more sustainable solutions through more effective public engagement.
Atlanta’s Westside Future Fund, created in partnership with Mayor Kasim Reed, will help revitalize the area around a new football stadium. The city wants the Fund’s work to be shaped in consultation with city residents. Through the Fund, Atlanta will work to address two issues -- code enforcement and flooding -- already identified as priorities through past engagement efforts. City leaders are looking to the City Accelerator to help them think through how to structure their approach, and to make effective use of data and technology. Atlanta’s video, developed by Morehouse College, tells the story of looking to the community for better solutions.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Facts versus Beliefs

Here's a very good short essay from the NY Times by philosopher Justin McBrayer entitled "Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts".  It discusses some common mistaken uses of the words 'facts' and 'beliefs' or 'opinions.' I have had some lines on a logic handout that I've used many years that addresses this same issue:

The final lines from McBrayer's article sum it up nicely:
Our children deserve a consistent intellectual foundation. Facts are things that are true. Opinions are things we believe. Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. Value claims are like any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work lies not in recognizing that at least some moral claims are true but in carefully thinking through our evidence for which of the many competing moral claims is correct. That’s a hard thing to do. But we can’t sidestep the responsibilities that come with being human just because it’s hard.
That would be wrong.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Experimental Bioethics

The ethics of animal research: a survey of pediatric health care workers

Ari R Joffe126*Meredith Bara3Natalie Anton1 and Nathan Nobis45
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2014, 9:20  doi:10.1186/s13010-014-0020-7



Pediatric health care workers (HCW) often perform, promote, and advocate use of public funds for animal research (AR). We aim to determine whether HCW consider common arguments (and counterarguments) in support (or not) of AR convincing.


After development and validation, an e-mail survey was sent to all pediatricians and pediatric intensive care unit nurses and respiratory therapists (RTs) affiliated with a Canadian University. We presented questions about demographics, support for AR, and common arguments (with their counterarguments) to justify the moral permissibility (or not) of AR. Responses are reported using standard tabulations. Responses of pediatricians and nurses/RTs were compared using Chi-square, with P < .05 considered significant.


Response rate was 53/115(46%) (pediatricians), and 73/120(61%) (nurses/RTs). Pediatricians and nurses/RTs are supportive of AR. Most considered ‘benefits arguments’ sufficient to justify AR; however, most acknowledged that counterarguments suggesting alternative research methods may be available, or that it is unclear why the same ‘benefits arguments’ do not apply to using humans in research, significantly weakened ‘benefits arguments’. Almost all were not convinced of the moral permissibility of AR by ‘characteristics of non-human-animals arguments’, including that non-human-animals may not be sentient, or are simply property. Most were not convinced of the moral permissibility of AR by ‘human exceptionalism’ arguments, including that humans have more advanced mental abilities, are of a special ‘kind’, can enter into social contracts, or face a ‘lifeboat situation’. Counterarguments explained much of this, including that not all humans have these more advanced abilities [the argument from species overlap], and that the notion of ‘kind’ is arbitrary [e.g., why are we not of the kind ‘sentient animal’ or ‘subject-of-a-life’]. Pediatrician and nurse/RT responses were similar.


Most respondents were not convinced of the moral permissibility of AR when given common arguments and counterarguments from the literature. HCW should seriously consider arguments on both sides of the AR debate.


Survey; Animals; Animal research; Ethics