Professor of Philosophy, George Washington University (also Senior Research Fellow, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health)
Rome 456; Office Hours: F 11:00-12:00 & by appt.
Areas of Expertise
Areas of specialization: ethical theory, biomedical ethics, personal identity theory.
Areas of competence: philosophy of mind/cognitive sciences, Wittgenstein, history of analytic philosophy, history of modern philosophy.
Ph.D., Georgetown University
M.Stud., Oxford University
B.A., University of Chicago
Creation Ethics: Reproduction, Genetics, and Quality of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)
Please note: Due to a misunderstanding between the publisher and me, the hardback edition (the only edition available at this time) has been published without my acknowledgements page or dedication page. View the acknowledgements page and dedication page.
Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy, 8th ed., coedited with Thomas Mappes and Jane Zembaty (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012)
Human Identity and Bioethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)
Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) with subsequent translations into Japanese, Hungarian, Bosnian, Turkish, Korean, and Chinese; Arabic and French translations forthcoming
Biomedical Ethics, 7th ed., coedited with Thomas Mappes and Jeffrey Brand-Ballard (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011); 6th ed., 2006; 5th ed., 2001; 4th ed., 1996
Taking Animals Seriously: Mental Life and Moral Status (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Selected Articles since 2000
"Is it Wrong to Impose the Harms of Human Life? A Reply to Benatar" Theoretical Medicine & Bioethics 31 (2010): 317-331
"Just(ice) in Time for Future Generations: A Reply to Hockett and Herstein" George Washington University Law Review 77 (5/6) (September 2009): 1216-1236
"Moral Vegetarianism from a Very Broad Basis" Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2) (2009): 143-165
"Self-Awareness in Animals," in Robert Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds (Cambridge University Press, 2009): 201-217
"Moral Status as a Matter of Degree?" Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2) (2008): 181-198
"Single Payer Meets Managed Competition: The Case for Public Funding and Private Delivery," Hastings Center Report 38 (1) (2008): 23-33
"Must We Have Full Moral Status Throughout Our Existence? A Reply to Alfonso Gomez-Lobo," Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 17 (4) (2007): 297-310
"On the Ethics of Animal Research" in Richard Ashcroft et al. (eds.), Principles of Health Care Ethics, 2nd ed. (West Sussex, UK: Wiley & Sons, 2007): 689-695
"The Harm of Death, Time-Relative Interests, and Abortion," Philosophical Forum 38 (1) (2007): 57-80
“The Definition of Death” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
"Human-Animal Chimeras: Human Dignity, Moral Status, and Species Prejudice," Metaphilosophy 38 (2-3) (April 2007): 309-329
"Moral Status, Human Identity, and Early Embryos: A Critique of the President's Approach," Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 34 (1) (Spring 2006): 49-57
"Enhancement Technologies and Human Identity," Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (June 2005): 261-283
"Identity, Killing, and the Boundaries of Our Existence," Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (4) (2003): 413-442
"Common Morality, Coherence, and the Principles of Biomedical Ethics," Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (3) (2003): 219-230
"Are We Essentially Persons? Olson, Baker, and a Reply," Philosophical Forum 33 (1) (March 2002): 101-120
"Ethical Issues in Early-Intervention Clinical Trials Involving Minors at Risk for Schizophrenia," Schizophrenia Research 51 (2001)
"Prozac, Enhancement, and Self-Creation," Hastings Center Report 30 (2) (March-April 2000): 34-40
Synopses of Books
Creation Ethics: The overarching aim of this book is to illuminate a broad array of issues connected with reproduction and ethics through the lens of moral philosophy. With novel frameworks for understanding prenatal moral status and human identity, DeGrazia sheds new light on the ethics of abortion and embryo research, genetic enhancement and prenatal genetic interventions, procreation and parenting, and decisions that affect the quality of life of future generations.
Human Identity and Bioethics: When philosophers address personal identity, they usually explore numerical identity. When non-philosophers address personal identity, they often have in mind narrative identity. This book develops accounts of both senses of identity, arguing that both are normatively important, and is unique in its exploration of a wide range of issues in bioethics through the lens of identity. Defending a biological view of our numerical identity and a framework for understanding narrative identity, David DeGrazia investigates various issues for which considerations of identity prove critical.
Taking Animals Seriously: Transcending the overplayed debate between utilitarians and rights theorists, the book offers a fresh methodological approach with specific constructive conclusions about our treatment of animals. David DeGrazia provides the most thorough discussion yet of whether equal consideration should be extended to animals' interests, and examines the issues of animal minds and animal well-being with an unparalleled combination of philosophical rigor and empirical documentation. This book is an important contribution to the field of animal ethics.
Biomedical Ethics: This best-selling anthology of readings with case studies provides insightful and comprehensive treatment of ethical issues in medicine. Appropriate for courses taught in philosophy departments as well as in schools of medicine and nursing, the collection covers provocative topics such as conflicts of interest in medicine, advance directives, physician-assisted suicide, and the rationing of health care. The text's effective pedagogical features include chapter introductions, argument sketches, explanations of medical terms, headnotes, and annotated bibliographies.
Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction: This volume provides a general overview of the basic ethical and philosophical issues of animal rights. It asks questions such as: Do animals have moral rights? If so, what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand welfare? By presenting models for understanding animals' moral status and rights, and examining their mental lives and welfare, David DeGrazia explores the implications for how we should treat animals in connection with our diet, zoos, and research. Animal Rights distinguishes itself by combining intellectual rigor with accessibility, offering a distinct moral voice with a non-polemical tone.
Selected Honors and Professional Service
Director, M.A. Program in Philosophy and Social Policy, George Washington University, July 2012 - June 2013.
Senior Advisor, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, July - December 2012.
Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, "Creation Ethics," Sept. 2010 - Aug. 2011.
Chair, Department of Philosophy, George Washington University, May 2007 – June 2010.
Visiting Scholar, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, 2006-2007
Chair, Committee on Philosophy and Medicine, American Philosophical Association, July 2004 - June 2006
Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, “Human Identity and Bioethics,” Sept. 2003-May 2004.
Co-chair, Program Committee for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities 2000 Conference, fall 1999-fall 2000
Visiting Scholar, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland (summer and fall 1997)
Participant, Animals and Bioethics Working Group, NASA (and coauthor of "NASA Principles for the Ethical Care and Use of Animals," October 1996 - January 1997)
Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, “Taking Animals Seriously,” Sept. 1993-May 1994.