Press release:

Special lecture on food ethics and technology on Feb 8
Prof. Paul B. Thompson reveals surprising conflicts in key approaches to food ethics

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA—January 28, 2013—The Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly today announced the next talk in its Technology, Policy & Ethics Lecture Series. On Friday, February 8, Professor Paul B. Thompson will speak about dilemmas in food ethics at the Agricultural Engineering main lecture hall (building 08, room 123) at Cal Poly. The free lecture, followed by a discussion period, is open to the public and will be held from 1-3 pm.

The last decade has seen a dramatic growth of interest in food and food ethics. Prof. Thompson will discuss three key problems: (1) the ethics of global hunger; (2) the ethics of food consumption as it relates to personal and public health; and (3) the ethical underpinnings of “the food movement” and its attraction to local and ethically motivated supply chains.

Although these three issues present distinct challenges, they are connected to one another in surprising ways. As Prof. Thompson will reveal, approaches to food ethics that focus narrowly on one set of issues may find that they have adopted strategies that put us in an awkward position with respect to the others.

Prof. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, where he serves in the Departments of Philosophy, Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies. He served as a member or advisor to the US National Research Council’s Board on Agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Biotechnology Research Advisory Committee and Genome Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and numerous other boards and panels.

This talk is sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts’ Lottery Speakers Fund; College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences; and Philosophy Department. For more information, please visit our Technology, Policy & Ethics Lecture Series page.

Based at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group is a non-partisan organization focused on emerging technology ethics, including risk, legal, policy, and social impacts of new technologies and sciences.  Please visit us at or


Patrick Lin, Ph.D., Director
palin [at]

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