Howard Nye, PhD, BA

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept
(780) 492-3307
2-59 Assiniboia Hall
9137 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E7



Howard Nye is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta. He works primarily in the areas of practical ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics, and has related interests in political philosophy, the philosophy of mind, and decision theory.

One line of Howard’s current research concerns the ethics of collective action, including why individuals should contribute to projects that may do a great deal of good if enough others also contribute, and what contributions to potentially beneficial projects are most important to make. Much of his current research in this line investigates the desirability and feasibility of a just transition to a predominantly plant-based food system in Canada.

Another line of Howard's research investigates challenges to the common assumption that life is less of a morally important benefit to sentient beings who lack the intellectual abilities of typical human adults.

A third line of Howard's research investigates what it takes for an entity to have representations and goals in a sense that admits of genuine, underivative error and unfulfillment, with applications to the sentience and mental lives of various non-human animals, intellectually less able humans, and possible future artificial intelligence systems.


PHIL 250 - Contemporary Ethical Issues

An examination of questions of right and wrong, good and evil, and the application of ethical theories to practical issues.

PHIL 345 - Humans and Animals

Philosophical approaches to the question of comparative human and animal cognition, emotion, awareness, and language. The course will also address the problem of animal rights vis-à-vis individual and institutional human interests.

PHIL 350 - Foundations of Ethics

A philosophical investigation of theoretical questions about ethics, such as whether ethical values are objective or subjective, why we should be moral, whether virtues really exist, what role reason plays in ethical deliberation, and what constitutes the basis of our ethical obligations.

PHIL 450 - Topics in Ethics

Prerequisite: At least 6 units in PHIL, 3 units of which must be at the 200-level, or consent of Department.

PHIL 550 - Moral Philosophy

Browse more courses taught by Howard Nye

Featured Publications

Nye, Howard and Meysam Shojaeenejad

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue Canadienne De Philosophie. 2023 July; 10.1017/S0012217323000136

Nye, Howard

Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard, David Plunkett and Billy Dunnaway (eds), Ann Arbor, MI: Maize Books. 2022 July; 10.3998/mpub.9948199

Howard Nye

Right Research: Modelling Sustainable Research Practices in the Anthropocene, Geoffrey Rockwell, Chelsea Miya and Oliver Rossier (eds.), Cambridge: Open Book Publishers. 2021 May;

Howard Nye and Tugba Yoldas

International Review of Information Ethics. 2021 March; 29

Howard Nye

International Review of Information Ethics. 2020 July; 28

Howard Nye

The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, Tristram McPherson and David Plunkett (eds), New York: Routledge. 2017 January;

Howard Nye

The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods, Christopher Daly (ed.), London: Palgrave MacMillan. 2015 January;

Howard Nye, David Plunkett, and John Ku

Philosophers’ Imprint. 2015 January; 15 (4):1-28

Howard Nye

Utilitas. 2014 December; 26 (4):432-479

Howard Nye

Thought. 2014 December; 3 (4):332-341

Howard Nye

Dimensions of Moral Agency, David Boersema (ed), Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2014 January;

Howard Nye

Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Mark Timmons (ed), Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013 January; 3

Howard Nye and Sanjay Reddy

Globalization and the Problem of Poverty, Paul Collier and Jan Willem Gunning (eds), Edward Elgar. 2008 July; I 10.4337/9781785366895

Alexander Pfaff, Shubham Chaudhuri, and Howard Nye

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues. 2004 December; 4 (4):209-228 10.1504/IJGENVI.2004.006051

Alexander Pfaff, Shubham Chaudhuri, and Howard Nye

Environmental and Resource Economics. 2004 July; 27 10.1023/B:EARE.0000017279.79445.72