Religious Studies Program

The Cal Poly Philosophy Department houses a Religious Studies program with a wide variety of courses in GE and a Religious Studies minor.

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Between the Species

Between the Species online journal logoAn online philosophy journal about the relationship between humans and animals.
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Ethics Group

Cal Poly's Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group focuses on the implications and impact of emerging sciences and technologies.
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Philosophy Colloquium

Duncan Purves (University of Florida at Gainesville)

"Predictive Policing and the Demands of Justice"

Predictive algorithms are increasingly used by police departments in the United States to anticipate and deter criminal activity by identifying geographic regions that are at high risk for crime. The use of so-called place-based predictive algorithms in policing has faced negative public attention but very little academic scrutiny.

Dr. Purves' paper offers a qualified defense of the moral permissibility of using predictive algorithms in policing. He argues that the use of so-called place-based predictive policing algorithms is compatible in principle with the demands of justice. However, when predictive policing algorithms go beyond prediction, to establish reasonable suspicion for search and seizure, they violate the principle of equality before the law by exposing innocent members of geographically disadvantaged groups to greater risk of mistaken conviction.

Speaker Biosketch:

Dr. Duncan Purves's research focus on normative ethics and the ethical implications of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons. He has published extensively on topics including bioethics, environmental ethics, the normative significance of harm and death, and our obligations to future generations. Dr. Purves earned his BA in Philosophy from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Colorado Boulder. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Event date/time:

Thursday, May 3 11:00 am – 12:00 pm


Building 180, Room 114 - Baker Science

Other info:

This talk is free and open to the public.

Sponsors: College of Liberal Arts, with additional support by CSSE

For questions, please contact:
Dr. Ryan Jenkins
Assistant Professor, Philosophy Dept.



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