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Nathan Nobis
Morehouse College
  1. A Moral Argument for Veganism.Daniel Hooley & Nathan Nobis - 2016 - In Andrew Chignell, Matthew Halteman & Terence Cuneo (eds.), Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments on the Ethics of Eating.
    We offer a relatively simple and straightforward argument that each of us ought to be vegan. We don’t defend this position by appealing to ‘animal rights’ or the view that animals and humans are ‘moral equals’. Rather, we argue that animal agriculture causes serious harms to other animals (such as pain, suffering and death) and these harms are morally unjustified or caused for no good reason. This is true for both ‘factory farming’ and smaller, so-called ‘humane’ farms. We argue that (...)
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  2. Chimpanzee Rights: The Philosophers' Brief.Kristin Andrews, Gary Comstock, G. K. D. Crozier, Sue Donaldson, Andrew Fenton, Tyler John, L. Syd M. Johnson, Robert Jones, Will Kymlicka, Letitia Meynell, Nathan Nobis, David M. Pena-Guzman & Jeff Sebo - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    In December 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a petition for a common law writ of habeas corpus in the New York State Supreme Court on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee living alone in a cage in a shed in rural New York (Barlow, 2017). Under animal welfare laws, Tommy’s owners, the Laverys, were doing nothing illegal by keeping him in those conditions. Nonetheless, the NhRP argued that given the cognitive, social, and emotional capacities of chimpanzees, Tommy’s confinement constituted (...)
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  3. Vegetarianism and Virtue: Does Consequentialism Demand Too Little?Nathan Nobis - 2002 - Social Theory and Practice 28 (1):135-156.
    "Nobis argues that Singer's consequentialist approach is inadequate for defending the moral obligation to become a vegetarian or vegan. The consequentialist case rests on the idea that being a vegetarian or vegan maximizes utility -- the fewer animals that are raised and killed for food, the less suffering. Nobis argues that this argument does not work on an individual level -- my becoming a vegetarian makes no difference to the overall utility of reducing animal suffering in a context of a (...)
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  4. Carl Cohen's 'Kind' Arguments for Animal Rights and Against Human Rights.Nathan Nobis - 2004 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (1):43–59.
    Carl Cohen's arguments against animal rights are shown to be unsound. His strategy entails that animals have rights, that humans do not, the negations of those conclusions, and other false and inconsistent implications. His main premise seems to imply that one can fail all tests and assignments in a class and yet easily pass if one's peers are passing and that one can become a convicted criminal merely by setting foot in a prison. However, since his moral principles imply that (...)
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  5. Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource, Collected and Edited by Noah Levin.Noah Levin, Nathan Nobis, David Svolba, Brandon Wooldridge, Kristina Grob, Eduardo Salazar, Benjamin Davies, Jonathan Spelman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Kristin Seemuth Whaley, Jan F. Jacko & Prabhpal Singh (eds.) - 2019 - Huntington Beach, California: N.G.E Far Press.
    Collected and edited by Noah Levin -/- Table of Contents: -/- UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: TECHNOLOGY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND IMMIGRATION 1 The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars: Your Car’s Moral Settings (Noah Levin) 2 What is Ethics and What Makes Something a Problem for Morality? (David Svolba) 3 Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr) 4 A Defense of Affirmative Action (Noah Levin) 5 The Moral Issues of Immigration (B.M. Wooldridge) 6 The Ethics of our (...)
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  6. Thinking Critically About Abortion: Why Most Abortions Aren’T Wrong & Why All Abortions Should Be Legal.Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob - 2019 - Atlanta, GA: Open Philosophy Press.
    This book introduces readers to the many arguments and controversies concerning abortion. While it argues for ethical and legal positions on the issues, it focuses on how to think about the issues, not just what to think about them. It is an ideal resource to improve your understanding of what people think, why they think that and whether their (and your) arguments are good or bad, and why. It's ideal for classroom use, discussion groups, organizational learning, and personal reading. -/- (...)
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  7. Do Zoos and Aquariums Promote Attitude Change in Visitors? A Critical Evaluation of the American Zoo and Aquarium Study.Randy Malamud, Lori Marino, Nathan Nobis, Ron Broglio & Scott O. Lilienfeld - 2010 - Society and Animals 18 (2):126-138.
    Modern-day zoos and aquariums market themselves as places of education and conservation. A recent study conducted by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association is being widely heralded as the first direct evidence that visits to zoos and aquariums produce long-term positive effects on people’s attitudes toward other animals. In this paper, we address whether this conclusion is warranted by analyzing the study’s methodological soundness. We conclude that Falk et al. contains at least six major threats to methodological validity that undermine (...)
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  8. Moral Experts, Deference & Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson, Nathan Nobis & Scott McElreath - 2018 - In Nathan Nobis, Scott McElreath & Jonathan Matheson (eds.), Moral Expertise. Springer Verlag.
    We sometimes seek expert guidance when we don’t know what to think or do about a problem. In challenging cases concerning medical ethics, we may seek a clinical ethics consultation for guidance. The assumption is that the bioethicist, as an expert on ethical issues, has knowledge and skills that can help us better think about the problem and improve our understanding of what to do regarding the issue. The widespread practice of ethics consultations raises these questions and more: -/- • (...)
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  9. Xenotransplantation, Subsistence Hunting and the Pursuit of Health: Lessons for Animal Rights-Based Vegan Advocacy.Nathan Nobis - 2018 - Between the Species 21 (1).
    I argue that, contrary to what Tom Regan suggests, his rights view implies that subsistence hunting is wrong, that is, killing animals for food is wrong even when they are the only available food source, since doing so violates animal rights. We can see that subsistence hunting is wrong on the rights view by seeing why animal experimentation, specifically xenotransplanation, is wrong on the rights view: if it’s wrong to kill an animal to take organs to save a human life, (...)
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  10. Rational Engagement, Emotional Response and the Prospects for Progress in Animal Use ‘Debates’.Nathan Nobis - 2013
    This paper is designed to help people rationally engage moral issues regarding the treatment of animals, specifically uses of animals in medical and psychological experimentation, basic research, drug development, education and training, consumer product testing and other areas.
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  11. Reasonable Humans and Animals: An Argument for Vegetarianism.Nathan Nobis - 2008 - Between the Species 13 (8):4.
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  12. Review of SHERRY F. COLB AND MICHAEL C. DORF Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights. [REVIEW]Nathan Nobis - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1 (1):1-2.
    In this book, law professors Sherry F. Colb and Michael C. Dorf argue that: -/- many non-human animals, at least vertebrates, are morally considerable and prima facie wrong to harm because they are sentient, i.e., conscious and capable of experiencing pains and pleasures; most aborted human fetuses are not sentient -- their brains and nervous systems are not yet developed enough for sentience -- and so the motivating moral concern for animals doesn't apply to most abortions[2]; later abortions affecting sentient (...)
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  13.  18
    The Ethics of Animal Research: A Survey of Pediatric Health Care Workers.Ari R. Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton & Nathan Nobis - 2014 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 9:20.
    Pediatric health care workers often perform, promote, and advocate use of public funds for animal research . We aim to determine whether HCW consider common arguments in support of AR convincing.
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  14. Putting Humans First? [REVIEW]Nathan Nobis - 2006 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8 (1):85 - 104.
    In Putting Humans First: Why We Are Natures Favorite, Tibor Machan argues against moral perspectives that require taking animals' interests seriously. He attempts to defend the status quo regarding routine, harmful uses of animals for food, fashion and experimentation. Graham and Nobis argue that Machan's work fails to resist pro-animal moral conclusions that are supported by a wide range of contemporary ethical arguments.
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  15.  31
    Cut the Fat! Defending Trans Fats Bans.Nathan Nobis & Molly Gardner - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (3):39 - 40.
    Is banning trans fat a bad policy? Resnik (2010) offers two general reasons for thinking so. First, because trans fat bans could lead to the government’s placing other objectionable restrictions upon food choices. Second, that, because we can adequately reduce trans fat consumption through education and mandatory labeling, bans are unnecessary. There are good reasons to reject both claims. First, since any slippery slope towards further restrictions on food choices is easily avoided, trans fat bans do not give the cause (...)
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  16.  69
    So Why Does Animal Experimentation Matter? Review of Ellen Frankel Paul and Jeffrey Paul, Eds. 2001. Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research. [REVIEW]Nathan Nobis - 2003 - American Journal of Bioethics 3 (1):1-2.
    Frey sets the challenge for the other authors: to explain why, morally, no humans can be subject to the kinds of experiments that animals are subject to and to explain how researchers can reliablyuse animal models to understand and cure human disease. He thinks that the first challenge has not been met; the second challenge is, unfortunately, not directly addressed in this book. Adrian Morrison states that he “abhors” positions like Frey’s, Peter Singer’s and Tom Regan’s. He asserts that all (...)
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  17.  55
    So Why Does Animal Experimentation Matter? Review of Ellen Frankel Paul and Jeffrey Paul, Eds. 2001. Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research.Nathan Nobis - 2003 - American Journal of Bioethics 3 (1):1 – 2.
  18. Animals and Rights.David Graham & Nathan Nobis - 2007 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8 (2).
  19.  31
    Abortion and Moral Arguments From Analogy.Nathan Nobis & Abubakarr Sidique Jarr-Koroma - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (12):59-61.
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  20.  78
    Who Needs the ’Actual Future Principle’?: Harman on Abortion.Nathan Nobis - 2002 - Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2):55-63.
    Elizabeth Harman has presented a novel view on the moral status of early fetuses that she calls the “ Actual Future Principle” : An early fetus that will become a person has some moral status. An early fetus that will die while it is still an early fetus has no moral status. This view is said to justify a "very liberal" position on abortion, that "early abortion requires no moral justification whatsoever," and show this position to be "more attractive than (...)
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  21.  22
    Rejoinder to John Altick, "Putting Humans First? YES!" (Spring 2007): Animals and Rights.David Graham & Nathan Nobis - 2007 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8 (2):331 - 339.
    In his reply to the Nobis-Graham review of Tibor Machan's book, Putting Humans First, John Altick defends Machan's and Rand's theories of moral rights, specifically as they relate to the rights of non-human animals and non-rational human beings. Nobis and Graham argue that Altick's defense fails and that it would be wrong to eat, wear, and experiment on non-rational—yet conscious and sentient—human beings. Since morally relevant differences between these kinds of humans and animals have not been identified to justify a (...)
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  22.  17
    Interests and Harms in Primate Research.Nathan Nobis - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (5):27-29.
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  23.  64
    Ayer and Stevenson’s Epistemological Emotivisms.Nathan Nobis - 2004 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):59-79.
    Ayer and Stevenson advocated ethical emotivisms, non-cognitivist understandings of the meanings of moral terms and functions of moral judgments. I argue that their reasons for ethical emotivisms suggestanalogous epistemological emotivisms. Epistemological emotivism importantly undercuts any epistemic support Ayer and Stevenson offered for ethical emotivism. This is because if epistemic emotivism is true, all epistemic judgments are neither true nor false so it is neither true nor false that anyone should accept ethical emotivism or is justified in believing it. Thus, their (...)
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  24. The Philosophers' Brief on Chimpanzee Personhood.Kristin Andrews, Gary Comstock, Gillian Crozier, Sue Donaldson, Andrew Fenton, Tyler John, L. Syd M. Johnson, Robert Jones, Will Kymlicka, Letitia Meynell, Nathan Nobis, David Pena-Guzman, James Rocha, Bernard Rollin, Jeff Sebo, Adam Shriver & Rebecca Walker - 2018 - Proposed Brief by Amici Curiae Philosophers in Support of the Petitioner-Appelllant Court of Appeals, State of New York,.
    In this brief, we argue that there is a diversity of ways in which humans (Homo sapiens) are ‘persons’ and there are no non-arbitrary conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can include all humans and exclude all nonhuman animals. To do so we describe and assess the four most prominent conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can be found in the rulings concerning Kiko and Tommy, with particular focus on the most recent decision, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc v Lavery.
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  25.  32
    Strong Claims, Feeble Evidence: A Rejoinder to Falk Et Al.Lori Marino, Randy Malamud, Ron Broglio, Scott O. Lilienfeld & Nathan Nobis - 2011 - Society and Animals 19 (3):291-293.
    The criticisms of Falk et al. are addressed, and the question of whether claims made by Falk et al. are valid is revisited. This rebuttal contends that Falk et al. misconstrue Popper’s role in philosophy of science and hence do not provide a strong test of their hypothesis. Falk et al. claim that they never made causal statements about the impact of zoo and aquarium visits in their 2007 study. Yet, this commentary shows that Falk et al. draw several unsupported, (...)
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  26.  47
    Expectations for Methodology and Translation of Animal Research: A Survey of Health Care Workers.Ari R. Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton & Nathan Nobis - 2015 - BMC Medical Ethics 16 (1):29.
    Health care workers often perform, promote, and advocate use of public funds for animal research ; 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.
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  27.  16
    The Ethics of Animal Research: A Survey of the Public and Scientists in North America.Ari R. Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton & Nathan Nobis - 2016 - BMC Medical Ethics 17 (1):1-12.
    BackgroundTo determine whether the public and scientists consider common arguments in support of animal research convincing.MethodsAfter validation, the survey was sent to samples of public, Amazon Mechanical Turk, a Canadian city festival and children’s hospital), medical students, and scientists. We presented questions about common arguments to justify the moral permissibility of AR. Responses were compared using Chi-square with Bonferonni correction.ResultsThere were 1220 public [SSI, n = 586; AMT, n = 439; Festival, n = 195; Hospital n = 107], 194/331 medical (...)
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  28.  11
    Abortion.Nathan Nobis - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:87-88.
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  29.  98
    Abortion and Animal Rights - Does Either Topic Lead to the Other?Nathan Nobis - 2016 - What's Wrong? Blog.
    Should people who believe in animal rights think that abortion is wrong? Should pro-lifers accept animal rights? If you think it’s wrong to kill fetuses to end pregnancies, should you also think it’s wrong to kill animals to, say, eat them? If you, say, oppose animal research, should you also oppose abortion? -/- Some argue ‘yes’ and others argue ‘no’ to either or both sets of questions. The correct answer, however, seems to be, ‘it depends’: it depends on why someone (...)
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  30. Abortion and Soundbites: Why Pro-Choice Arguments Are Harder to Make.Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob - 2019 - Areo Magazine.
    Arguments are nowadays often presented as soundbites: as slogans, tweets, memes and even gifs. Arguments developed in detail often meet the response TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read). This is unfortunate—especially when tackling the topic of abortion. Soundbites make many pro-life arguments seem stronger than they really are, while the complexities of pro-choice arguments can’t be readily reduced to soundbites.
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  31. Animals & Ethics 101: Thinking Critically About Animal Rights.Nathan Nobis - 2016 - Open Philosophy Press.
    This book provides an overview of the current debates about the nature and extent of our moral obligations to animals. Which, if any, uses of animals are morally wrong, which are morally permissible and why? What, if any, moral obligations do we, individually and as a society, have towards animals and why? How should animals be treated? Why? We will explore the most influential and most developed answers to these questions – given by philosophers, scientists, and animal advocates and their (...)
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  32.  91
    A Libertarian Replies to Tibor Machan's 'Why Animal Rights Don't Exist'.Nathan Nobis - manuscript
    right. Unlike incoherent positive rights , such as the “right” to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone . It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer. I can think of no other issue where the libertarian is arguing for a positive right—his right to make animals submit (...)
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  33.  69
    A Rational Defense of Animal Experimentation.Nathan Nobis - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):49-62.
    Many people involved in the life sciences and related fields and industries routinely cause mice, rats, dogs, cats, primates and other non-human animals to experience pain, suffering, and an early death, harming these animals greatly and not for their own benefit. Harms, however, require moral justification, reasons that pass critical scrutiny. Animal experimenters and dissectors might suspect that strong moral justification has been given for this kind of treatment of animals. I survey some recent attempts to provide such a justification (...)
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  34.  35
    Bob Fischer, Ed. College Ethics: A Reader on Moral Issues That Affect You.Nathan Nobis - 2017 - Teaching Ethics 17 (2):259-262.
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  35.  36
    ‘Balancing Out’ Infant Torture and Death: A Reply to Chignell.Nathan Nobis - 2001 - Religious Studies 37 (1):103-108.
    In a recent article published in this journal, Andrew Chignell proposes some candidates for greater or ‘balancing out’ goods that could explain why God allows some infants to be tortured to death. I argue that each of Chignell's proposals is either incoherent, metaphysically dubious, and/or morally objectionable. Thus, his proposals do not explain what might justify God in allowing infants to be tortured, and the existence of infant suffering remains a serious problem for traditional theism.
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  36.  14
    ‘Better Selves’ and Sympathy.Nathan Nobis - 2001 - Southwest Philosophy Review 17 (2):141-145.
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  37.  6
    ‘Better Selves’ and Sympathy.Nathan Nobis - 2001 - Southwest Philosophy Review 17 (2):141-145.
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  38. Common Arguments About Abortion.Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob - 2019 - Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource.
    An introductory chapter on abortion that (1) reviews some common DEFINITIONS of abortion and argues that one definition is better than the others, (2) reviews and critiques some common QUESTION-BEGGING ARGUMENTS, on both sides of the issue, that have premises that merely assume the conclusion they are intended to support and (3) reviews and critiques many "EVERYDAY ARGUMENTS" on abortion, that is arguments that people without strong philosophical backgrounds give every day on the issues yet are poor good arguments. This (...)
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  39.  66
    Carl Cohen and Tom Regan, the Animal Rights Debate (Book Review).Nathan Nobis - 2002 - Journal of Value Inquiry 36 (4):579-583.
  40.  35
    Defending Embryo Experimentation.Nathan Nobis - unknown
    In Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Doubleday, 2008), Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen argue that human embryo-destructive experimentation is morally wrong and should not be supported with state funds. I argue that their arguments fail.
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  41.  24
    Ethics and “Extra Credit”.Nathan Nobis - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Grades on assignments and tests are reliable, yet imperfect, indicators of students’ knowledge and understanding of a subject matter. Overall course grades are also often influenced by students’ complying with class procedures: e.g., if attendance and participation are required, then students who rarely attend class may get poor grades, even if they understand the course content and have done well on the assignments and tests. A variety of extra credit opportunities are often given as a way to raise grades on (...)
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  42. Early and Later Abortions: Ethics and Law.Nathan Nobis - forthcoming - In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. Oxford University Press.
    Most abortions occur early in pregnancy. I argue that these abortions, and so most abortions, are not morally wrong and that the best arguments given to think that these abortions are wrong are weak. I also argue that these abortions, and probably all abortions, should be legal. -/- I begin by observing that people sometimes respond to the issue by describing the circumstances of abortion, not offering reasons for their views about those circumstances; I then dismiss “question-begging” arguments about abortion (...)
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  43. Ethical Egoism.Nathan Nobis - 2020 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Selfishness is often considered a vice and selfish actions are often judged to be wrong. But sometimes we ought to do what’s best for ourselves: in a sense, we sometimes should be selfish. -/- The ethical theory known as ethical egoism states that we are always morally required to do what’s in our own self-interest. The view isn’t that we are selfish—this is psychological egoism—but that we ought to be. -/- This essay explores ethical egoism and the main arguments for (...)
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  44. Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing.Nathan Nobis - 2019 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Sadly, there are people in very bad medical conditions who want to die. They are in pain, they are suffering, and they no longer find their quality of life to be at an acceptable level anymore. -/- When people like this are kept alive by machines or other medical treatments, can it be morally permissible to let them die? -/- Advocates of “passive euthanasia” argue that it can be. Their reasons, however, suggest that it can sometimes be not wrong to (...)
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  45. Environmental Ethics Encyclopedia Entry on Peter Singer.Nathan Nobis - manuscript
    |Scope: | |1. The first sentence should include the subject’s name, life span in | |parenthesis, and place and date of birth (day and month) if known (followed by | |mentioning early work on civil disobedience, perhaps) | |2. Outline key contributions to animal ethics, focusing on Animal Liberation | |and Practical Ethics | |3. Outline contributions to debates on poverty, relating this to environmental | |ethics | |4. Outline more recent work on globalization and climate change eg in One (...)
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  46.  14
    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome & Abortion: On The Impairment Argument.Nathan Nobis - unknown
    A basic criticism of Perry Hendrick's "Even if the fetus is not a person, abortion is immoral: The Impairment Argument," is offered, namely that the reasons why intentionally causing fetal alcohol syndrome is wrong simply do not apply to fetuses and so the "Impairment Argument" against abortion fails.
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  47.  9
    Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to Other Animals. [REVIEW]Nathan Nobis - 2019 - The Philosophers' Magazine 87:113-114.
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  48. Feminist Ethics Without Feminist Ethical Theory.Nathan Nobis - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (Supplement):213-225.
    There are at least two models of what it is to be a feminist ethicist or moral philosopher. One model requires that one accept a distinctively feminist ethical theory. I will argue against this model by arguing that since the concept of a feminist ethical theory is highly unclear, any claim that ethicists who are feminist need one is also unclear and inadequately defended. I will advocate what I call a "minimal model" of feminist ethics, arguing that it is philosophically (...)
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  49. Is Your Opinion on Abortion Wrong? Critical Thinking & Abortion.Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob - 2020 - Science and Philosophy.
    For the past few years in the United States, almost daily there’s a headline about new proposed abortions restrictions. Conservatives cheer, liberals despair. But who is right here? Should abortion be generally legal or should it be banned? Is it usually immoral or is it usually not wrong at all? These same questions, of course, are asked in other countries. To many people, answers to these questions seem obvious, and people with different or contrary answers are, well, just wrong. But (...)
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  50.  7
    Moral Experts, Deference & Disagreement.Nathan Nobis, Scott McElreath & Jonathan Matheson - 2018 - In Jamie Carlin Watson & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Moral Expertise: New Essays From Theoretical and Clinical Bioethics. Springer Verlag.
    We sometimes seek expert guidance when we don’t know what to think or do about a problem. In challenging cases concerning medical ethics, we may seek a clinical ethics consultation for guidance. The assumption is that the bioethicist, as an expert on ethical issues, has knowledge and skills that can help us better think about the problem and improve our understanding of what to do regarding the issue.The widespread practice of ethics consultations raises these questions and more:What would it take (...)
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