Dennis Cooley

Dennis R Cooley

Professor of Philosophy and Ethics

Northern Plains Ethics Institute, Director

Springer's International Library of Bioethics, Editor

Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

DEPT 2340, PO Box 6050

North Dakota State University

Fargo ND  58108-6050

Office: 701-231-7038

Fax: 701-231-7605



Areas of Specialization:

               Ethics (Bioethics, Environmental, Agricultural, Medical, Business, Professional, and Theoretical)

               History of Modern Philosophy

 Areas of Competence:

               Philosophy of Religion

               Social and Political Philosophy

               Feminist Ethics



2015      Death’s Values and Obligations: A pragmatic Framework, The International Library of Ethics, Law, and New Medicine, 62. (Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

2014      The Ethics of Death: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives in Dialogue (monograph, Lloyd Steffen and Dennis Cooley) (Fortress Press: Minneapolis, MN)

2012      Passing/Out: Identity Veiled and Revealed Dennis Cooley and Kelby Harrison (editors), (Ashgate Press: UK)

2009      Technology, Transgenics, and a Practical Moral Code, The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology series, Vol. 4. (Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

                Re-imaging Death and Dying,

Dennis R Cooley and Lloyd Steffen (editors),,

Articles (Refereed):

2016      “Introduction: Pragmatism in Bioethics and Genetics” Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, 2(3): 329-33.

                “Attitudes toward shale oil development in western North Dakota: The role of the place based community values in attitude formation” with Felix N Fernando. Journal of Rural Studies, 46: 132-46.

                “Socioeconomic System of the Oil Boom and Rural Community Development in Western North Dakota: Socioeconomic System of Oil Boom” with Felix Fernando. Rural Sociology, 81(3): 407-44.

2015      “Elder Abuse and Vulnerability: Avoiding illicit paternalism in healthcare, medical research, and life” Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, 1(1): 101-12.

                “An Oil Booms Effect on Quality of Life (QoL): Lessons from Western North Dakota” with Felix N Fernando. Applied Research in Quality of Life: 1-33.

                “Justifying a duty to suicide” Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, 1(4): 532-42.

2013      “Can care/relationship ethics justify a suicide duty?” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 36: 366-73

2012      “Social Welfare Capitalism and Care Ethics Challenge the NeoClassicism Myth” Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, 4(10): 20-36.

                “Epistemic Closure’s Clash with Technology in New Markets” Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 108, Issue 2: 181-99.

2011      “Sex Selection Abortion in Kazakhstan: Understanding One Moral Justification” (with Irina Chesnokova) Developing World Bioethics, Volume 11, Issue 3: 154-60.

2010      “Communicating and Philosophizing about Authenticity or Inauthenticity in a Fast-Paced World” Becky DeGreef, Ann Burnett, and Dennis Cooley, Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(4): 395-408.

                “Is There a Duty to be Out?” American Philosophical Association LGBT Newsletter, Fall 2010, 10-16.

 2009      “Environmental Tobacco Smoke as Child Abuse or Endangerment: A Case for Expanded Regulation” Public Affairs Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 3: 181-221.

                “Understanding Social Welfare Capitalism, Private Property, and the Government’s Duty to Create a Sustainable Environment” Journal of Business Ethics, 89(3): 351-69.

2008      “Genetically Engineering Human-Animal Chimeras and Lives Worth Living” Between the Species, VIII, August 2008, cla.calpoly.eud/bts/.

                “A Kantian Moral Duty for the Soon to Be Demented to Commit Suicide” American Journal of Bioethics, 7(6): 37-44.

                “Response to Open Peer Commentaries on ‘A Kantian Moral Duty for the Soon to Be Demented to Commit Suicide’” American Journal of Bioethics, 7(6): W1-W3.

                “Deaf by Design: A Business Argument Against Engineering Disabled Offspring” Journal of Business Ethics, 71(2): 209-27.

2006      “Crimina Carnis and Morally Obligatory Suicide” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 9: 327-56.

2005      “Hospitality Industry Smoking Bans and Child Endangerment: A Question of Priorities” Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 24(3): 59-90.

2004      “Transgenic Organisms and the failure of a free market argument” Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 13(4): 354-71.

                “Practical Moral Codes in the Transgenic Organism Debate” Gary Goreham, George Youngs, and Dennis Cooley Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 17(4) 1-8.

                “Are Transgenic Organisms Unnatural?” Ethics & the Environment, 9(1): 46-55, with Gary Goreham.

                “The Moral Paradigm Test” Journal of Business Ethics, 50: 289-94.

                “Transgenic Organisms and Some Legal Ethics” Public Affairs Quarterly,  18(2) 91-110.

2003      “Strict Joint and Several Liability and Justice” Journal of Business Ethics, 47: 199-208.

2002      “So Who’s Afraid of Frankenstein Foods?” Journal of Social Philosophy, XXXIII(3): 442-63.

                “The CIOMS’s Distributive Justice Principle: A Reply to Dr. Benatar” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 23: 11-18.

                “False Friends” Journal of Business Ethics, 36(3) 195-206.

2001      “Distributive Justice and Clinical Trials in the Third World” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 22: 151-67.

2000      “Good Enough for the Third World” The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 25(4): 427-50.

                “Re-Adjusting Utility for Justice” Journal of Philosophical Research, XXV: 363-80.

1998      “The Millennium Problem and the Marketplace of Ideas: Insights into Freedom, Responsibility, and Technological Development” with Scott DeVito, Public Affairs Quarterly, 12(3): 243-86.

1996      “Deep Pockets and Justice” Proceedings: Third International Conference Promoting Business Ethics, Disk II.


1998      “Second Best: A Case for Lowering Testing Standards in Third World Countries” Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy Abstracts.

 Book Chapters:

2014      “The definition of morality” in Morality: Diversity of concepts and meanings. Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy. (Alfa-M: Moscow, Russia, 2014): 238-41.

2012      “Is There a Duty to be Out?” in Passing/Out: Identity Veiled and Revealed, Dennis Cooley and Kelby Harrison (editors). (Ashgate: Farnham, UK): 43-50.

                “Accepting Death for One’s Happiness” in New Perspectives on the End of Life: Essays on Care and the Intimacy of Dying, Lloyd Steffen and Nate Hinerman (editors). (Rodopi Press: Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

2009      “Kantian Obligatory Suicide: Further Developments” in Re-Imaging Death and Dying,

Dennis R Cooley and Lloyd Steffen (editors).,

2007      “Transgenic Organisms, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization” in The Ethics of Genetic Commerce. Robert W. Kolb (editor). (Blackwell Publishers: Blackwood, NJ, 2001): 87-108.

                “Genetically Modified Organisms and Business Duties” in Ethical Theory and Business, 8th edition. Tom Beauchamp, Norman Bowie, and Denis Arnold (editors). (Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ).

                “Monsanto’s Round-up Ready Wheat” in Ethical Theory and Business, 8th edition. Tom Beauchamp, Norman Bowie, and Denis Arnold (editors). (Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ).

2003      “Nazi Experiments and Stem Cell Research” in Stem Cell Research, James M Humber and Robert F Almeder (editors). (Humana Press Inc: Totowa, NJ, 2003): 61-85.

 Book Reviews:

2006      “Recoding Nature: Critical Perspective on Genetic Engineering” Agricultural History, 80(1): 121-3.

                “Price, Principle, and the Environment” Agricultural History.

2003      “Gaia’s Body: Toward a Physiology of Earth” Agricultural History,  77(4) 633-4.

 Book Review Articles:

2003      “Responsible Conduct of Research” Essays in Philosophy,


2002      “A Review of TM Scanlon’s What We Owe to Each Other” Essays in Philosophy,


Encyclopedia Entries:

2008      “Environmental Ethics” Encyclopedia of Rural America 2nd edition, Gary Goreham, editor.

Journal Introductions:

2003      Introduction to Medical Research Ethics issue of Essays in Philosophy,


Works In Progress:


               “An Unsuitable Job for a Man: Using Affirmative Action for Men in Female-Dominated Professions” submitted to International Journal of Applied Ethics.

               “There is no Kantian permission/duty to euthanize the extremely demented” submitted to Bioethics.

                “Genetically Engineering Future Generations’ Deaths” submitted to The Canadian Journal of Philosophy.


               Persons and Species: Applying Biology’s Lesson to Personhood and Bioethics, monograph.

                Death and Future Generations, monograph.

 Presentations (selected out of 81):

February 2016

               “Persons and Species: Applying Biology’s Lesson to Personhood’s Definitions and Values” American Philosophical Society, Central Division.

July 2015

               “Objective and Subjective Guilt and Death” XXXIVth International Congress, International Academy of Law and Mental Health, Vienna.

February 2015

               “The Ethics of Death and Dying” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Authors Respond to Commentators Panel.

“The Ethics of Death and Dying” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Lunch with Authors.

November 2014

“Subjective and objective guilt, moral dilemmas, and end of life decisions” International Association of the Philosophy of Death and Dying.

October 2014

               “Moral Dilemmas and Guilt” Minnesota Philosophical Society.

September 2014

               “A Right to Life? A Right to Die? Are these Real, Illusions, Nonsense?” Lehigh University.

March 2014

“A Pragmatic Case for Affirmative Action for Men in Female Dominated Professions” Illinois Institute of Technology.

“A Case for Affirmative Action for Men in Female Dominated Professions” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

October 2013

“An Unsuitable Job for a Man: Using Affirmative Action for Men in Female-Dominated Professions” Minnesota Philosophical Society.

September 2013

“A Study of Holiday Letters, Authenticity, and Happiness” Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium, Concordia College.

July 2013

“Does Suicide Have to Be Intended?” International Association of Law and Mental Health Amsterdam Congress.

February 2013

“When Civil Rights Should and Shouldn’t Be Put to the Popular Vote” American Philosophical Association, Central Division meeting.

January 2012

               “Ethics in Insurance” North Dakota Crop Insurance Conference.

October 2012

               “Can care-relationships ethics justify a suicide duty?” Minnesota Philosophical Society.

April 2011

               “Why Ethics Matter in Insurance” AgCountry.

March 2011

               “Professionally Profiting from Bigotry” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

February 2011

“Business Ethics: A Practical Approach” North Dakota Crop Insurance Conference, Continuing Education.

November 2010

“Accepting One’s Death as a Condition of One’s Happiness” 7th Global Conference: Making Sense of Dying and Death, Prague, Czech Republic.

February 2010

               “Is there a duty to be out?” American Philosophical Association, Central Division Meeting.

February 2009

“Genetic Engineering, Non-heterosexuality, and Lives Worth Living” American Philosophical Association, Central Division Meeting.

November 2008

“Kantian Obligatory Suicide: Further Developments” 6th Annual Dying and Death Conference, Salzburg, Austria.

February 2008

“An Argument for the Necessity of Voting Student IRB Members” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

March 2007

               INBRE Lectures: “Ethical Theory and Bioethics” and “Applied Bioethics”.

February 2007

“Healthcare Workers and the Dementia Suicide Duty” Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

October 2006

“Sociology as a Necessary Component of Applied, Philosophical Ethics” Great Plains Sociological Association.

“Dementia and Morally Obligatory Suicide” Fusion Conference.

“Non-heterosexuals in Heterosexual Marriages as a Form of Spousal Abuse” Fusion Conference.

“Ethical Mandates for the Humanities” Fusion Conference.

March 2006

“Does Liberalism Lead to Relativism in Science and Religion?” Science, Religion, and Lunch Seminar, NDSU.

November 2005

“Developing World Medical Research and a Practical Distributive Justice Principle” A National Conference on The Ethics of Biomedical Research and Practice, The Woodside Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Grand Forks, ND.

October 2005

“Transgenic Organisms, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization” Japha Symposium for Business and Professional Ethics, Leeds School of Business and Society.

May 2005

               “Animals and Ethics” Bioethics Institute, Iowa State University.

               “Practical Moral Codes in Bioethics” Bioethics Institute, Iowa State University.

March 2005

               “Playing Devil’s Advocate for Satan” BOZETTO.

February 2005

“Ethical Challenges of an Aging Population” Fargo-Moorhead Communiversity, Concordia College.

“The Ethics of Transgenic Organisms” Fargo-Moorhead Communiversity, Concordia College.

“Who is Afraid of the Big, Bad Chimera? Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology meeting.

Teaching Experience:

August 2002 – Present:                                North Dakota State University: Professor (2012)

August 1997 – June 2002:                            East Carolina University: Visiting Assistant Professor

January 1993 – May 1995

& May – July 2001:                                        SUNY at Geneseo: Lecturer in Philosophy

January 2001 – May 2001:                          Pamlico Community College: Lecturer

September 1996 – July 1997:                     Humboldt State University (CSU): Assistant Professor

September 1995 – May 1996:                    SUNY at Oswego: Lecturer in Philosophy

August 1994 & 1995:                                    University of Rochester: Instructor (G.S.)

January 1994 – May 1995:                           Eastman School of Music (U of R): Instructor

Classes Taught:

Selected Topics in Applied Ethics

Introduction to Ethics

Introduction to Philosophy

Contemporary Moral Issues

Philosophy of Sex and Love

History of Modern Philosophy

Medical Ethics

Humanities I & II

Philosophy and Literature

Business Ethics

Professional Ethics



Ethical Theory

Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Language

Environmental Ethics


Directed Studies:

Moral National Health Care

Medicine in the Third World

National Testing Standards

The Physician’s Obligations

Philosophy of Law

Human Nature from Buddha to Lewis

Children’s Moral Development and the Internet


Teaching Professional

Moral Psychology

Privacy and the Internet

Informal Logic

Service (selected):


1.      University

a.      Faculty Senate

i.                 Committee for researching faculty pools for university wide hires

b.      NDSU Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Lectureship committee: Appointed by the president to create and implement this new faculty award.

c.      NDSU Institutional Review Board 2002-2014

i.                 Vice-Chair 2005-2007

ii.                Chair 2007-2012

d.      Environmental and Conservation Sciences Program Graduate Faculty

e.      Natural Resource Management Program Graduate Faculty

f.       Mentor Program for new faculty members at NDSU

g.      NDSU Teaching Circle

h.      NDSU Safe Zone Faculty Member

i.       Memorial Union’s Gallery Advisory Board

2.      College

a.      Policy and Planning Committee

b.      Philosophy-Humanities Major/Minor committee (Includes evaluating the major, submitting proper paperwork for changes, advising, and updating information in the Bulletin and Fact Sheets)

3.      Department

a.      Philosophy-Humanities Program Coordinator 2002- Present

b.      Organizing Committee for a Philosophy and Religious Studies Department

c.      Organizer and advisor to Phi Sigma Tau chapter – Minnesota/North Dakota Beta located at Tri-College University – Philosophy Honor Society

d.      Assessment Committee

Professional Service:

1.      Associations:

a.      American Philosophical Association

b.      Association for Practical and Professional Ethics

c.      Society for LGBTQ Philosophy

d.      Phi Kappa Phi – Chapter President

e.      Phi Sigma Tau

f.       Phil Alpha Theta

2.      Journals and publishers:

a.      Founder and editor of the Northern Plains Ethics Journal 2013 – present

b.      Public Affairs Quarterly’s Board of Editorial Consultants 2010-2012

c.      Review advisor for the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

d.      Review board for the Journal of Business Ethics

e.      Reviewer for Agricultural and Human Values; Ethics and International Affairs; International Journal of Law and Psychology; Philosophy & Technology; Journal of Medical Ethics; Social Theory and Practice; and Medicine and Bioethics

f.       Reviewer for Pearson and Wadsworth

g.      Guest journal editor for Essays in Philosophy Medical Research Issue, June 2003

h.      Guest Editor for special issue on genetics and bioethics for Elsevier’s Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, August, 2016

Community Service:

1.      Meritcare-Sanford IRB

2.      GLBT Professional Issues Conference committee and subcommittees - chair

3.      Chamber of Commerce subcommittees

a.      Business Training (Chair 2009-10; Vice-Chair 2008-9 and 2014-15)

b.      Public Affairs 2008-11

4.      Founding and board member of the South Agassiz Resource Council 2002-6

University/Community Service:

1.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute: Associate Director 2004-14, Director 2015-present

Service to the Government:

1.      In 2009 and 2011, I provided oral and written testimony to the ND Senate and House Transportation Committees on bills proposing to create a law banning smoking in cars when minors under 16 are present.

Honors and Awards:

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Service Award                    2016

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Fellow                     2014

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Educator      2012

Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce NDSU Distinguished Professor   2010

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Researcher of the Year    2005-2006

Daryl E Snyder Alumni Achievement Award                                                       2005

East Carolina University’s Phi Sigma Tau Teacher of the Year                        2000-2001

University of Rochester Fellowship                                                                       1990-1995

Rush Rhees Fellowship                                                                                             1990-1991

New York State Regent’s Scholarship                                                                    1983-1987



               May 1995            Ph.D. University of Rochester

               May 1994            M.A. University of Rochester

               May 1987            B.A. (Computer Science) SUNY at Geneseo



               Title:                     Which Consequences Count in Consequentialism?

               Advisor:               Professor Robert L Holmes


Funded Grants:

“Engaging Scholars & the Community: A Collaborative Humanities Research Project”


The project lead to collaborative humanities projects for public engagement and consumption. It brought together humanities and humanistic social science scholars to create collaborative enterprises that benefited themselves and their academic communities through the strength of symbiosis. The same idea was the driving force behind creating collaborative relationships between scholars and the public community. Public communities have a need for the help of humanities scholars, whereas humanities scholars, to fulfill their role, need to interact with communities. Not only did scholars provide their professional services, they looked at how to better understand their research as it pertains to the very constituency they are intended to serve.

a.      North Dakota Humanities Council

b.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute

c.      North Dakota State University

d.      College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

“Understanding and Perusing Values in Western North Dakota”


The study identified and incorporated existing moral values into a practical decision procedure for citizens of western North Dakota to use for their social interactions and planning. To achieve this goal, we created a platform for engaging community members in discussion, understanding, and perusal of the values, and then used the same networks to distribute an ethical decision procedure created from the data obtained. The study married ethics, philosophy, and social sciences in a project designed to advance each field, as well as created a decision procedure that, in part, showed how the humanities can contribute to a better society and life.

a.      North Dakota Humanities Council

b.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute


“Making Applied Ethics More Accessible”


The project created a high quality, ethics web source that will be used in classrooms and other areas in which people have internet access. The goal was to provide a resource that teachers, students, the public, and researchers can use in their work.  Included in this effort was the creation of internet resources for various applied ethics fields, such as agricultural ethics, bioethics, medical ethics, and business ethics. The website also has a database of case studies created for the website by state high school students and community citizens.

a.      North Dakota Humanities Council

b.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute

“Training Nonprofit Organizations for More Effective Operations in Women’s and Children’s Healthcare Areas”


Women and children’s healthcare is a relatively neglected area of training. The Northern Plains Ethics Institute combined a program using MSUM’s training for non-profits with the Group Decision Center (GDC) at NDSU. The new dynamic created by the GDC has proven to be useful in training more efficiently and allowing more voices to be heard on training topics and concerns.

a.      Bremer Foundation

b.      Dakota Medical Foundation

“Legal Aid Convening Conference”


Many in North Dakota and western Minnesota lack adequate access to legal aid. The Northern Plains Ethics Institute organized a conference that allowed people in the relevant areas to come together to discuss their and their communities most urgent needs, and then begin to create plans to deal with the needs. The Northern Plains Ethics Institute combined with the Group Decision Center at NDSU.

a.      Bremer Foundation

b.      United Way of Cass-Clay

c.      Fargo-Moorhead Foundation

d.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute

e.      NDSU Group Decision Center


“Northern Plains Ethics Institute Pandemic Workshop for the Fargo-Moorhead Community”


Prior to the H1N1 pandemic scare of 2007 the NPEI organized a workshop to prepare community members for a pandemic. Emergency plans and responses were discussed for local businesses, schools, and other community citizens.

a.      Dakota Medical Foundation

b.      Northern Plains Ethics Institute


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