Defund the Police?

Briana Toole at Online

Thu, Jan 28 at 8 p.m.   |   75 minutes
Olios: Drop-in classes led by professors

We need an epistemic framework that allows us to see the police for what they are – not as uniform-clad heroes, but complex human beings, capable of flaws and subject to criticism. Changing our social landscape doesn’t require better slogans, but better frameworks for understanding.


Obama recently suggested that progressive social movements lose their audience with snappy slogans like “defund the police”. But what if the problem isn’t the slogan, but the epistemic framework we use to understand that slogan? Epistemic frameworks, like fancy Instagram filters, shape (and distort) how we see the world. Our epistemic framework is colored by an understanding of the police as good guys tasked with getting bad guys off the street.

This means we hear reasonable statements like ‘defund the police’ as ‘defund the good guys’. We need an epistemic framework that allows us to see the police for what they are – not as uniform-clad heroes, but complex human beings, capable of flaws and subject to criticism. Changing our social landscape doesn’t require better slogans, but better frameworks for understanding.  

Teacher: Briana Toole

Briana Toole is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. She works at the intersection of epistemology, feminist theory, and the philosophy of race and gender. Toole is interested primarily in examining the relationship between social identity and knowledge, focusing in particular on how epistemology can be used to better understand oppression.


Venue: Online

Zoom link will be sent upon signup.


Add to Calendar Jan. 28, 20218 p.m. Jan. 28, 2021 America/New_York Think Olio | Defund the Police? We need an epistemic framework that allows us to see the police for what they are – not as uniform-clad heroes, but complex human beings, capable of flaws and subject to criticism. Changing our social landscape doesn’t require better slogans, but better frameworks for understanding. Online

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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.