John Arras

November 12th, 2009


Welcome to my personal academic website.  I am a professor of biomedical ethics and philosophy at the University of Virginia, where I head up the interdisciplinary undergraduate bioethics program.  I teach a variety of upper-level courses in philosophical bioethics (e.g., on the ethics of human reproduction, biomedical research, justice and health care, global justice, etc.) and a yearly graduate seminar (e.g., methods of practical ethics; global justice, health, and human rights).  I also mentor graduate students with interests in ethics, political philosophy, and practical ethics.

My research falls into two broad categories:  (1) reflections on method in practical ethics, including varieties of ‘principlism,’ moral theory, case-based reasoning, narrative, pragmatism, human rights, etc.; and (2) more occasional topics of current ethical controversy, such as physician-assisted suicide, research ethics, and public health.  I recently completed a 5 year rotation as a member of the ethics committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and I currently serve on President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (  I am also a continuing member of the ethics committee of the March of Dimes.