Nathan Nobis, Professor of Philosophy, Morehouse College
2006 – current: Full Professor (since 2021) Associate Professor (with tenure, 2014-2021); previously, Assistant Professor (2006-2014), Philosophy, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
2009 – 2020: Adjunct Assistant Professor of Community Health & Preventive Medicine,
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Provide bioethics support for a large cancer research and outreach project and participated in some collaborative bioethics research. Bioethics aspect of project ended in fall 2020.
2007 – 2015: Adjunct Professor of Animal Studies, Humane Society University, Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC. Program closed.
2005-2006: Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Alabama, Birmingham.
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2005, Philosophy
M.A., Northern Illinois University, 1999, Philosophy
B.A., Wheaton College, IL, 1996, Philosophy, Psychology
Areas of Research Specialization
Applied or Practical Ethics (especially Bioethics), Ethical Theory, Critical Thinking
Areas of Teaching Competence
Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, Argumentative Writing
Philosophy and Psychotherapy, Philosophy and Family Law
Lead Editor of 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, since 2018. www.1000WordPhilosophy.com; edited and helped produce 90+ essays; reviewed many more submissions; managed the page and communications among editors and reviewers; increased publications in areas of non-Western philosophy and philosophy of race; will be soon developing a proposal to create a textbook on the basis of this material. Approximately 750,000 views in 2021.
· Interview at the American Philosophical Association blog, written by Nathan Nobis: “1,000-Word Philosophy: Philosophy for Everyone”
- An introductory ethics and logic textbook: tentatively entitled, Making Moral Progress: An Ethical Arguments Workbook: MakingMoralProgress.blogspot.com Proposal for publishers in preparation.
- A Rulebook for Students: Success in College & Beyond (an open-access student support book): RulebookForStudents.blogspot.com
- Thinking Critically About Abortion. Kristina Grob, co-author. Open Philosophy Press, 2019. www.AbortionArguments.com (an open-access book; perhaps 70,000 downloads; many follow-up writings and blog posts that might lead to another book on the topic).
- Book developed from: “Common Arguments about Abortion” and “Better (Philosophical) Arguments about Abortion,” with Kristina Grob, in Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource, ed. Noah Levin. NGE Far Press, 2019. This is also noted below.
- Two chapters from the book were reprinted as “Defining ‘Abortion’ and Critiquing Common Arguments about Abortion” in College Ethics: A Reader on Moral Issues that Affect You, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, ed. Bob Fischer, 2020. This is also noted below.
- Many blog posts and follow-up articles on that material, including in Salon magazine and Areo magazine.
- Chimpanzee Rights: The Philosophers’ Brief. Andrews, K., Comstock, G.L., Crozier, G.K.D., Donaldson, S., Fenton, A., John, T.M., Johnson, L.S.M., Jones, R.C., Kymlicka, W., Meynell, L. and Nobis, N., Routledge, 2018.
- Developed out of an amicus brief 16 philosophers co-wrote at the request of the Nonhuman Rights Project for a case regarding chimpanzees.
- Another brief was co-written and submitted in 2020 for a case involving an elephant.
- Animal Ethics 101: Thinking Critically About Animal Rights. Open Philosophy Press, 2016. www.AnimalEthics101.com (an open-access textbook; near 40,000 downloads or forms of digital engagement).
- Review: Fischer, Bob (2018) “Review of Nathan Nobis's Animals & Ethics 101,” : Vol. 21: Issue. 1, Article 10.
- Real Life: This is not a Game: Personal Finance for Young Adults (Amazon, 2017). (A booklet developed as a learning activity for my pre-teen child).
All publications are available at https://morehouse.academia.edu/NathanNobis and links below.
- “Why IACUCs [Institutional Animal Care & Use Committees] Need Ethicists” (for the ILAR – Institute for Lab Animal Research – Journal, invited, forthcoming, for special 2021 issue on ethics and animal research).
- “Eating and Animals,” with Dan Hooley, (forthcoming), Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics, ed. Ben Hale and Andrew Light (Routledge, 2022).
- “Defining ‘Abortion’ and Critiquing Common Arguments about Abortion” in College Ethics: A Reader on Moral Issues that Affect You, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, ed. Bob Fischer, 2020. This is also noted above in the books section.
- “Early and Later Abortions: Ethics and Law,” in Bob Fischer, ed., Ethics: Left and Right, Oxford University Press, 2020.
- “Reply to Christopher Tollefsen on Abortion,” in Bob Fischer, ed., Ethics: Left and Right, Oxford University Press, 2020.
- “Bioethics and Cancer Biomarker Research” (with Stephen Sodeke and William Grizzle), Biomarkers in Cancer Screening & Early Detection, ed. Sudhir Srivastava (2017 Wiley).
- “Tom Regan on ‘Kind’ Arguments,” in The Moral Rights of Animals edited by Mylan Engel and Gary Comstock (Lexington Books, 2016).
- “An Argument for Veganism” (with Dan Hooley), in Philosophy Comes to Dinner, edited by Andrew Chignell, Terrance Cuneo and Matt Halteman (Routledge, 2015).
- “Rational Engagement, Emotional Response and the Prospects for Progress in Animal Use ‘Debates,’” (2012). In Jeremy Garrett (ed.) Animal Research in Theory and Practice (237-266). MIT Press: Basic Bioethics Series.
10. “Peter Singer,” (2009). Entry in Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, eds. J. Baird Callicott and Robert Frodeman (Gale-Thompson Publishing), 245-247.
- “Racial Justice Requires Drug Policy Overhaul: Bioethicists and Allied Professionals Against the War on Drugs,” American Journal of Bioethics (January 7, 2021). Lead authors: Carl Hart, Jonathan Lewis and Brian Earp; I am one of 50 co-authors on the paper.
· Abstract: Historically, laws and policies to criminalize drug use or possession were rooted in explicit racism, and they continue to wreak havoc on certain communities of color. We are a group of bioethicists, drug experts, legal scholars, criminal justice researchers, sociologists, psychologists, and other allied professionals who have come together in support of a policy proposal that is evidence-based and ethically recommended. We call for the immediate decriminalization of all so-called recreational drugs and, ultimately, for their timely and appropriate legal regulation. We also call for criminal convictions for non-violent offenses pertaining to drug use or possession of small quantities of such drugs to be expunged, and for those currently serving time for these offenses to be released. In effect, we call for an end to the “war on drugs.”
- “Moral Nihilism, Intellectual Nihilism & Practical Ethics,” 2020, Academia Letters.
- “Making Ethics Happen: Addressing Injustice in Health Inequalities,” (with Stephen Sodeke) American Journal of Bioethics, March, 2020; 20(4):100-101.
- “Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing” in Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource, ed. Noah Levin. NGE Far Press, 2019: 54-59.
- “Common Arguments about Abortion” and “Better (Philosophical) Arguments about Abortion,” with Kristina Grob, in Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource, ed. Noah Levin. NGE Far Press, 2019. Also noted above, in the book section.
- “Moral Experts, Deference and Disagreements” (with Jon Matheson & Scott McElreath), in Watson J., Guidry-Grimes L. (eds) Moral Expertise: New Essays from Theoretical and Clinical Bioethics. Springer, 2018: 87-105.
- “Xenotransplantation, Subsistence Hunting and the Pursuit of Health: Lessons for Animal Rights-Based Vegan Advocacy,” , Vol. 21: Issue. 1, 2018, Article 8.
- “The ethics of animal research: a survey of the public and scientists in North America.” Joffe, A. R., Bara, M., Anton, N., & Nobis, N. (2016). BMC medical ethics, 17(1).
- “The ethics of animal research: a survey of pediatric health care workers.” Joffe, A. R., Bara, M., Anton, N., & Nobis, N. (2014). Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 9 (1), 1.
- “Racial Health Disparities and Race-Based Bioethics: A Critique of a Critique,” (2013) The International Journal of Radical Critique, Volume 2, Number 1.
- “R.M. Hare’s Irrationalist ‘Rationalism’: A Critique of Universal Prescriptivism,” (2011) Southwest Philosophy Review, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2011, 205-214.
12. “The Harmful, Nontherapeutic Use of Animals in Research Is Morally Wrong,” (2011) American Journal of the Medical Sciences, October, Volume 342, Issue 4, 297-304.
· This was developed out of an invited lecture / debate at Medical University of South Carolina on the topic of ethics and animal research.
13. “Abortion, Metaphysics & Morality: A Review of Francis Beckwith’s Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice,” (2011) Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 36(3): 261-73.
14. “Do Zoos and Aquariums Promote Attitude Change in Visitors? A Critical Evaluation of the American Zoo and Aquarium Study,” (2010), Marino, Lori; Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Malamud, Randy; Nobis, Nathan; Broglio, Ron; Society and Animals, Volume 18, Number 2, 126-138.
15. “Cut the Fat! Defending Trans Fat Bans,” (2010) (with Molly Gardner) American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience, 2010, Volume 10, Number 3, 39-40.
§ Cited in Kraak, Colon-Ramos, Monge-Rojas. “Trans fats. Case for a global ban.” World Nutrition (World Public Health Nutrition Association), December 2012, 3, 12, 570-591:
16. “Abortion and Moral Arguments from Analogy,” (2010), co-author Abubakarr Sidique Jarr-Koroma (Morehouse undergraduate student), The American Journal of Bioethics, 10: 12, 59-61.
- “Ought We Accept What Neuroscience Might Imply? Many Questions, Incommensurable Answers?” (2010), American Journal of Bioethics–Neuroscience, 1, Issue 4, 45-47.
18. “Interests and Harms in Primate Research,” (2009) American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience, May, Volume 9, Number 5, 27-29.
19. “Reasonable Humans and Animals: An Argument for Vegetarianism,” (2008) Between the Species: An Online Journal for the Study of Philosophy & Animals, Volume 13, Issue 8.
20. “Feminist Ethics without Feminist Ethical Theory (or, more generally, Φ Ethics Without Φ Ethical Theory)” (2005). Journal of Philosophical Research. Volume 30, Issue Supplement. Ethical Issues for the 21st Century, 213-225.
21. “Ayer and Stevenson’s Epistemological Emotivism,” (2004) Croatian Journal of Philosophy, Volume IV, Number 10, 61-81.
22. “Carl Cohen’s ‘Kind’ Argument For Animal Rights and Against Human Rights,” (2004) Journal of Applied Philosophy, Volume 21, Number 1, 43-59.
§ Response: Neil Levy, “Cohen and Kinds: A Response to Nathan Nobis,” (2004) Journal of Applied Philosophy, Volume 21, Number 2, 213-217.
§ Reprinted: Clare Palmer, ed., Animal Rights (Ashgate, Int’l Library of Essays on Rights, 2008).
23. “The Real Problem of Infant and Animal Suffering,” (2002) Philo, Volume 5, No. 2, 216-225.
24. “What Would Be So Bad If We Rejected Belief in Libertarian Free Will?” (2002) De Philosophia, Volume XVI, Number 2, 21-34.
25. “Who Needs the ‘Actual Future Principle’? Harman on Abortion,” (2002) Southwest Philosophy Review, Volume 18, Number 2, 55-63.
26. “Vegetarianism and Virtue: Does Consequentialism Demand Too Little?” (2002) Social Theory and Practice, Volume 28, Number 1, 135-56.
§ Reprinted: Christine Koggel, ed., Moral Issues in Global Perspective, 2nd Ed. (Broadview Press, 2006).
§ Reprinted: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Moral Issues, Expanded 14th Edition, edited by Owen Smith and Anne Smith (McGraw Hill, 2016)
27. “Animal Dissection and Evidence-Based Life-Science & Health-Professions Education,” (2002) Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, Volume 5, Number 2, 155-159.
28. “Vagueness, Borderline Cases, and Moral Realism: Where’s the Incompatibility?” (2000), Philosophical Writings, Volume 14, 29-39.
29. “‘Balancing Off’ Infant Torture and Death: A Reply to Chignell,” (2001) Religious Studies, Volume 37, 103-108.
30. “Cultivating Philosophical Skills and Virtues in Philosophy of Education,” Proceedings of the Midwest Philosophy of Education Society, 1999, 149-162.
- “The Ethics of Belief: It’s not just Trump supporters who believe wrongly—it’s all of us,” Political Animal Magazine, February 2, 2021.
- “Why Writing Better Will Make You a Better Person,” with Bob Fischer, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2019.
- “Is Your Opinion on Abortion Wrong? Critical Thinking and Abortion” with Kristina Grob, at Science and Philosophy on Medium.com, 2020.
- “Abortion and Soundbites: Why Pro-Choice Arguments Are Harder to Make” with Kristina Grob, in Areo Magazine, July 23, 2019.
- 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology essays:
- “Ethical Egoism,” (2/2/2020), about 5000 views so far;
- “Euthanasia or Mercy Killing,” (3/5/2019), about 12,000 views so far;
- “Ethics and ‘Extra Credit,’” (2/25/2018), about 5000 views so far;
- “ (with Victor Fabian Abundez-Guerra) (7/17/2018), about 6,000 views so far;
- “Ethics and Abortion,” (3/7/2016), around 50,000 views so far.
7. “Animal Testing Should Be Banned,” 2016, at “Wallethub” (invited)
- Review of Principles of Animal Research Ethics, Beauchamp, Tom L. and DeGrazia, David Oxford University Press: New York, 2020. In Bioethics Volume 34, Issue 9, November 2020, pages 998-999.
- Reviews of Christine Korsgaard’s Fellow Creatures for The Philosophers’ Magazine, Issue 87, 4th Quarter 2019 and for “Animals & Society” journal (forthcoming).
- Review of Bob Fischer’s College Ethics: A Reader on Moral Issues that Affect You. Teaching Ethics, 2017.
- Review of Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf, Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights, Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews, June 26, 2016.
- Review of Jonathan Kahn, Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in the Post-Genomic Age, American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 15, 2015.
- “Promoting Ethics for and with People Like Us,” Georgia Philosophical Society’s Online Workshop on Ethical Issues in Today’s Turbulent World, Friday 10/23/2020.
- “Is it us, or is it them? Problems of Ineffective Philosophizing About Abortion,” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), Atlanta, GA, February 2020.
- “Integrity and Eating,” Reimagining Culture: Integrity in Higher Education, Emory, April, 2019.
- At Atlanta University Center Library: Presentation on Public Scholarship – “Don't Hide your Light Under a Bushel,” Sept. 21, 2018;
- Library presentation on “Open Access Textbooks,” March, 2017. (Invited).
- “The Limited Relevance of Neuroscience to Moral Reasoning,” (October 2013), American Society for Bioethics and Humanities conference, Atlanta, GA. (Invited).
- “Taking it to the Streets: Bioethics and Health Disparities” for the First Bioethics Conference on Cancer Health Disparities Research, January 2012, Tuskegee Institute, AL.
- “Using Surveys in Teaching Philosophy,” (2013) American Association of Philosophy Teachers, summer mini-conference, Morehouse College.
- “Moral Progress and Moral Argument Analysis,” American Association of Philosophy Teachers Conference-Workshop, Coastal Carolina University, July 29-August 2, 2010.
Title: Truth in Ethics and Epistemology: A Defense of Normative Realism (2005)
Committee: Richard Feldman & Earl Conee (co-directors), Edward Wierenga
Synopsis: Common reasons given to think that moral judgments are never true suggest that epistemic and intellectual judgments, e.g., that some beliefs are rational, justified or should be held, are never true either. I argue that these epistemic anti-realisms are rationally unacceptable and so that major premises that entail them are false. The main cases against moral realism, which rest on these same premises, are undercut and realisms, moral and epistemic, are defended.
· “Is Abortion Immoral?” on the Brain in a Vat Youtube podcast (January 2021)
· “Engaged Philosophy” interview (2020)
· “I think therefore I fan: Invasion of the Body Swappers” – discussion of topic of personal identity
· American Philosophical Association blog on 1000 Word Philosophy (2018, written by Nathan Nobis )
Courses taught at Morehouse College, unless otherwise noted:
- Introduction to Philosophical Ethics: 2 sections every semester, 1 in summer, since fall 2006. Attempted to teach the course online in Summer 2019; taught online in spring 2020 even before we switched to online.
Topics include: logic and arguments, moral theories and theories of justice, ethics and communication, ethics and “cancel culture”, the ethics of grading and extra credit, the treatment of disabled newborns, euthanasia and assisted suicide, genital mutilation, sexual ethics, homosexuality, abortion, absolute poverty, racism, sexism, and speciesism; racism in dating; punishment, capital punishment, drug use and the criminalization of drug use, reparations for historic injustices, capitalism and socialism, vegetarianism and the treatment of animals, environmental concern, and more.
- Philosophy of Religion: almost every 3rd semester since spring 2007.
- Modern Philosophy (Descartes- Hume): every third semester since 2014.
- Introduction to Philosophy: Spring 2009. fall 2020, Honors section.
- Climate Change Ethics, fall 2020. Developed and taught with support of a competitive “Project Pericles” “grant” to encourage civic engagement in classes: https://www.projectpericles.org/creating-cohesive-pathways-to-civic-engagement.html
- Bioethics: every other year or so, since 2006.
- Metaphysics: Fall 2008, fall 2010, fall 2018.
- Modern Political Philosophy, spring 2020.
- Animals & Ethics: Violence or Non-Violence? Jmester, week-long course, January 2017 & 2018.
- Ethics, Justice and Social Justice. Jmester 2020. To be offered in 2021, pending adequate enrollment.
- Aesthetics & Philosophy of the Arts: spring 2019.
- Philosophy of Education: spring 2013:
- Philosophy of Science: co-instructor, fall 2012.
- Philosophy of Sex and Gender: spring 2012.
- Advanced Ethics: spring 2009.
- Bioethics / Values in the Sciences, a Project IMHOTEP – Public Health Program – 4-hour mini course, summer 2009; summer 2010).
- Animals and Ethics: AS305/AS605 (Humane Society University, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States). 8-week course online course taught approximately every year from 2008-2015. Materials from this course were compiled as the open-access text Animals & Ethics 101: Thinking Critically About Animal Rights at www.AnimalEthics101.com
- Guest lectures in courses on bioethics, ethics or philosophy at Morehouse Biology department; Morehouse Medical School; Tuskegee Institute; Emory psychology department; Georgia State philosophy; Georgia State biomedical research; Oglethorpe. Lecture on journalism and ethics for Morehouse journalism course, and more.
- Philosophical Ethics, 2013, 5-week summer “adult education” course at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
- “Ethics and Animal Experimentation” online lecture for a 2019 course on animal research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Posted in 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZA7rmGgaLY