2011 Abstracts Stage 3

New World Order: Atheism in Religion, Anarchy in Politics and No Property in the Economic Sphere, Possible or Improbable?

Understanding NWO is a giant geo-cycle political picture. Things are happening with the use of subliminal indirect and reversed psychological propaganda Some say it is made to be confusing. It is theorised that the Illuminati, the ones who call themselves the enlightened ones, had gained positions of power; through means such as controlling the banking system.

The coined phase ‘New World Order’ is the term used to describe a unity of the world’s superpowers to rule, secure, and maintain the principle of “global peace.” The concept is to bring the world under submission to one supreme government, enforce one controlled common religion and one worldwide economic system. (The EU has already instituted this with the ‘Euro’ currency.) The common conspiracy theory about the New World Order is that there is secret power elite with a globalist agenda that is conspiring to eventually rule the world with an authoritarian government. Absolute Obedience. In actuality, it is a move towards a socialistic, controlled, and godless world.

Preliminarily, this dissertation is focused on the concept of emancipation and capitalism and how the New World Order is apparently attempting to overcome such issues. Involvement of the banking system and especially the role of power in relation to money has been considered as the state of the economic society can tell us a lot about the New World Order regime. It has referred predominately to the work of Karl Marx ‘father of communism’ and his work on Capitalism. Throughout this work on capitalism, the concept of religion and attack on society will come into play as the New World Order presents us with a new atheistic view on religion. The main material to be used and referred to throughout this dissertation is that by A. Ralph Epperson “The New World Order” and Marx’s “Capital and other writings”. Hegel also shows us the importance of his Dialectic theories in relation to the new World Order by presenting us with a thesis, antithesis and synthesis that can be applied to conflict throughout history.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

How Are Franz Kafka’s Novels Ethical?

Aim: I aim to demonstrate how Blanchot’s ethics can be found within literature. Specifically, in Kafka’s work.

Philosophy: death of a subject is, ultimately, Blanchot’s ethics. It is instigated by the interruption of the ‘Il y a’. Here, all former values (everydayness) is replaced by those of the other (otherness). This motion is mimicked in literature, particularly in Kafka’s work. My project will assess why.

Anti-thesis: Is Kafka’s work symbolic (stubbornly independent) or allegorical (autobiographical)? That is, is Kafka himself present throughout his work?

I will argue that Kafka’s work is allegorical; he is everywhere in his work.

Blanchot’s Texts: Reading Kafka, Kafka and Literature, The Language of Fiction Literature and the Right to Death, Death Sentence.
Heidegger’s Texts: Why Poets?, On the Essence of Truth, The Origin of the Work of Art, Way to Language.
Kafka’s texts: The Trial, The Castle, Metamorphosis.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Prison and Punishment in Scandinavia, UK and America: Kantian Retribution versus Utilitarianism

• Kant’s theory of punishment is based on desert and not about consequences. It insists on retribution. (Kant, Groundwork)
• Utilitarianism appeals to consequences, hence reparation programmes and deterrence. Yet if a severe crime creates greater consequences then it should be carried out regardless of desert. (Mill, Utilitarianism)

• America demonstrates a penal system of harsh retributive punishment and also harsh utilitarian forms of punishment. (Death penalty, 3 strikes)
• Scandinavia utilitarian in its aims of reparation and prevention
• UK show like America a combination yet is more focussed on probation programmes than America.

Project Aims 
– To outline the differences in penal systems in Scandinavia, UK and America 
– To demonstrate the effectiveness of various forms of punishment. 
– To demonstrate how these countries’ penal systems reflect Kantian retribution and utilitarianism 
– To critically compare these approaches

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Genesis Vs The Big Bang Theory

‘Isn’t it enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?’ (Adams, 2009)

Object of study – Which creation story appears to be more valid in our society. I will compare Genesis and the Big Bang theory. I will critically analyse whether science assumes that Genesis is an explanatory theory, when perhaps it is not. It is very much a scientific discourse.

I plan to find that The Big Bang theory is a better explanation of creation in today’s society, and whether an atheist can explain creation.

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
Kant – The Critique of Pure Reason
David Hume – Meditations concerning natural religion
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Nagel – The View from Nowhere

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Journalism Ethics: Integrity in Reporting

• Key concept: the invasion of individual’s privacy in relation to public interest
• Do journalists always have the sole intention of providing us with the truth?
• Do they pursue the truth by the right means for the right reasons?

• Mill’s Harm Principle
• Pragmatism as a theory of truth
• Correspondence Theory of Truth
• Kant’s Moral Philosophy: Obligation

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

The Origin of Plagiarism (or Why Copying is Good)

In my project I intend to look at the historical genealogy of plagiarism and how it has come to be seen negatively in contemporary society. I will attempt at giving a counter argument to the negative nature of plagiarism.

In the first chapter I will begin by arguing that in pre-modern society copying and indeed imitation were promoted as being tools to preserve tradition, and as a way to intellectual enlightenment.

In the second chapter I will look at the way the invention of the printing press influenced society and made people more concerned with originality and plagiarism from perspectives of private property and authenticity.

In the third chapter I will argue that plagiarism as a concept has been invented and that everything anyone ever says or writes derives from something that has already occurred.

Some texts I have included in my work are: T.S.Eliot: The Sacred Wood, Matthew Arnold: Culture and Anarchy, Sartre: Being and Nothingness, Kierkegaard: Repetition, Borges: Labyrinths, Aristotle: Poetics and Hegel: Elements of the philosophy of Right

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Can Right Abuses be Justified in Guantanemo Bay?

• A study of how the unconvicted detainees are subject to torture through ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in Guantanamo Bay.

• I will relate this to Mill’s Utilitarianism, in particular to the Harm Principle: people are free until they harm others.

•I will reconcile this with Mill’s On Liberty which expresses that we should maximize happiness and in the absence of harm, never restrict one’s liberty.

Discussion: Mills states that it is only in cases of self-defence or direct harm on society, in which we can intervene with restrictions. It is true that we have to safe guard the security and autonomy of everyone. Although, when human rights are violated, it is often the case the violator will perceive their action to be in the best interests of society. (Guards/workers at Guantanamo bay) This is the short fall of Guantanamo Bay, rights should not be violated but should be best calculated to promote the good.

I will explore:
1. The life of the Binyam Mohamed, held at Guantanamo Bay for five years but released without conviction.

2. What would be Mill’s response to Guantanamo Bay closing?

3. Does this pose a threat to society?

4. Are they too dangerous to set free?

5. Do we have a right to control where they are placed, inside our borders or back to their homelands?

6. If they are not convicted, is it right that we can impinge on their liberty? Surely they are FREE.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Conjoined Twins: If a woman is knowingly pregnant with conjoined twins, is it a fairer act to abort them rather than to carry on with her pregnancy, due to the quality of life they will experience?

This year I used the topic conjoined twins in my project. I was inspired to do so after watching a channel four documentary, ‘Bodyshock: The twins who share a brain’. This featured two sets of female craniopagis (joined by the head) twins one pair 48 years older than their junior. After realising the presence of lots of sets of conjoined twins alive today I began to query far reaching questions about the nature of their life. I used these girls as empirical research and included lots of quotes from interviews with 49 year old Schappell twins Reba and Lori in order to help me answer the question above. I also read their biography, and several books about conjoined twins in general and especially their sociological transition through history.

I also used philosophy and practically applied the notion of aborting conjoined twins, to the theories of two philosophers John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant. For Mill the abortion would be acceptable according to his hedonistic greatest number principle. I argued using quotes from Mill’s work that he would opt for them to be aborted since they would inflict various levels of pain upon all those involved. Kant would not accept their abortion, he would see it as a virtue of their mother not to do this, and sees abortion in general as a non-universalizable maxim. In order to do this I read several books on the philosophers some are listed below. I then explained in my own words what each of the philosophers would say about this issue. I started my project by thinking that the quality of lives of twins eternally joined together would be very low, but by the end of the project I had completely changed my mind. I learned that conjoined twins do not mind (even favour) their situation, possibly because it is all they have known. All the evidence I found showed them stating emphatically that they would not wish for separation even if it was possible. They claimed not feeling a sense of unwillingly feeling trapped to another person as I imagined. They have also found a purpose and place among society in the twenty first century in a way that they did not in the eighteenth as were forced to join the freak show. Therefore I agreed with Mill over Kant but for different reasons and in my conclusion I argued their case using evidence of the excellent life quality conjoined twins have experienced in the past.

Dreger, A. (2004) One of us, Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal. Harvard University Press, London.

Mill, J S. (2001) Utilitarianism. Hackett Publishing Company, United States of America.

Guyer, P. (2006) Kant. Routledge Publishing, Abingdon.

Face to Face: The Schappell Twins (2000 United States of America) Television Broadcast. Ellen Weissbrod. New York, A&E Television Networks. Documentary and Living channel, 05/01/2000 8pm, Series 2 Episode, 3.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

The Problem of Authenticity in Postmodern Society

The aim of my project is to look at the influence of postmodern society and postmodern culture on our experience as authentic, autonomous selves. I hope to unearth something about the true nature of authenticity, if it indeed exists at all, and through the course of this investigation I also hope to obtain a better understanding of my own self. The main question I wish to resolve is: In this postmodern society can anyone really become an authentic individual and consider their experiences to be authentic? The foreseeable problems are centred on the condition of the postmodern world, which promotes inauthenticity. I shall be considering the views of Adorno: The Culture Industry; Heidegger: Being and Time; Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, whilst also investigating The Truman show.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Do the Mass Media and the Cult of Celebrity Alienate Us from Our True Selves?

In my project I discuss the effect that celebrity culture has on modern day society. The mass media have a stranglehold on what we see, what we read and what we believe through television, newspapers and the internet. It is almost inescapable but the question is does the power of the mass media and the cult of celebrity alienate us from ourselves and stunt our true desires in life?

In order to philosophically deconstruct this phenomenon my methodology revolves around the examination of the theories of Guy Debord and his notion of the spectacle, Theodor Adorno’s attack on mass culture in The Culture Industry and Karl Marx’s critique of commodity fetishism in Das Kapital.

“The more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires” (Debord, Society of the spectacle 16: 2004)

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

The Dual Nature of the Artist as Genius & Madman and its Repercussions for the Theory that Art is a Source of Moral Enrichment

The aim of my project is to explore the potential repercussions of the non-dichotomous relationship between the genius, the madman, their works of art and the concept that said works of art may be used for the purposes of moral edification.

The western tradition of linking art with morality began with Plato and Aristotle, who each viewed the potential of art in a different way; Plato believed art was dangerous and should be censored, whilst Aristotle believed that art could get people to emotionally engage with traumatic events that they had not yet experienced.

However, the turning point for art originated in the 18th century with the work of Kant, who cemented the relationship between art and morality by concluding that judgements concerning beautiful things were of the same nature as judgements concerning the ethical and the good.

From Kant’s work, the concept arrived in the philosophies of Schiller and Schopenhauer. Schiller believed that art was necessary in order to heal that which he saw as the fractured human spirit; beautiful art would improve the soul and return it to its proper moral course. For Schopenhauer, the beautiful was a part of the realm of Ideas, a, concept for which Schopenhauer is indebted to Plato. In turning our intellect towards the study of the beautiful, in whose realm resides also the moral, we can cancel out the influence of the will on our lives, the will which is the source of all human suffering.

These ideas form the philosophical basis of my project, in which the next step would be to apply the concepts of Schiller and Schopenhauer’s philosophy to the work of an accepted genius/madman.

For this part of the project I chose the work of Sylvia Plath, as I think she fulfils the criteria for both the genius and the madman. After her suicide, Plath left behind a rich body of poetic works, the themes of which correlate nicely with the work of Schiller and Schopenhauer. As such, I was able to examine her poetry using their philosophy and conclude that there are undeniable repercussions associated with the study of the artwork of a mad genius.

At the end of my study, I was able to discern that art, in a moral capacity, exists as somewhat of a double-edged sword and that we should be careful not to put too much faith in its ability to lead us to morality.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

[Facebook] Promoting Authenticity or Inauthenticity. What do you Think?

Heidegger: Facebook promotes authenticity by offering people the chance to assume responsibility over their identity and realise that they are in a ‘self-making-situation’.

Sartre: Facebook promotes authenticity by revealing that there is in fact a lack of identity when presenting a self due to the fact that one always has the freedom to choose to move beyond their current situation

Lyotard: Facebook promotes inauthenticity because individuals are no longer concerned with developing a sense of personal identity that is a true representation of them but only with developing an identity that will perform well within their social network in order to increase their social capital

Foucault: Facebook promotes inauthenticity because people are not concerned with developing an identity that is a true representation of them but only with conforming to a certain ideal of how a person ought to be in order to be accepted and not excluded by their social network

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

The Camera Never Lies: Exploring Interactions of the Real, the Human, and the Photographic

The cultural dominance and ubiquity of the photographic image invites an uncritical acceptance of its impact and our unconscious absorption of its information.

Knowing that it is literally a ‘trick of the light’ does little to dent our sense of its veracity – after all, our vision functions by a similar trick. The traditional problems of sense-belief apply doubly to photographs, reality is dimensionally translated and reduced, then extrapolated from the photograph by our visual and imaginative conception.

We read and imbue significance in an image, in order to make emotional and visual statements for it, without being quite aware of how we do so. Neither are we aware of what we do when we create images- selected representations of our world, isolated outside time and space – or of their violence upon us – capturing and reproducing a part of ourselves that acts as a whole, suspended in limbo; changing the way we react and perform, changing the world they are meant to mirror.

Vilém Flusser’s ‘Philosophy of Photography’, Susan Sontag’s ‘On Photography’, Roland Barthes’ ‘Camera Lucida’, and various works by Tagg, Elkins, Benjamin and others, explore the truth and utility of the semiotic and ontological interrelation, and the effect of its assumption, as well as the processes of communication of abstract meaning and emotion. By these processes, the apparatus of photography can become a social power without a master, which we feed and sacrifice for, forgetting that such systems, as with money, information, or legislation, are self-interested powers that ought to act for us.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3


The aim of this project is to explore different styles of leadership. To discuss the legitimacy, efficiency and value of different styles that are employed by leaders.

The theories of psychologist Daniel Goleman will be explored throughout this project as he clearly identifies six main styles of leadership: Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and Coaching. The different styles outlined by Goleman, will be legitimated against the arguments for legitimate authority laid out by Max Weber.

Christopher Hodgkinson’s work on leadership theory will have a major role in the discussion of Goleman’s leadership styles as Hodgkinson lays out his own leadership archetypes: The Careerist, The Politician, The Technician and The Poet.

In Goleman’s theory the ability to learn and develop leadership through growth and development is explored. This will be an interesting contrast to Hodgkinson’s ideas concerning The Poet archetype, an almost mystical character who weaves spells over his subordinates, a true charismatic leader.

Main sources:
Goleman. D Leadership that gets Results, Harvard Business Review, the President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2000

Hodgkinson. C, The Philosophy of Leadership, Basil Blackwell Publisher Ltd, Oxford, 1983

Weber. M . The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, trans. Henderson A.M, Parsons. T, Oxford University Press, New York, 1947

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Can We Ever Connect? An Investigation into the Relationship between the Human Being and the Natural World, with particular reference to Heidegger and the Akie Hunter-Gatherers of Tanzania

The investigation aims to establish the relationship between human beings and their natural environment; contrasting the views of the Western world and the Akie hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. Through an examination of the Akie lifestyle there is an attempt to understand the complex relationship they have with nature. Contrastingly there is a study into how the Western World considers nature, particularly in a society dominated by science and technology.

Heidegger’s original texts are referred to, along with ideas from Kierkegaard and Gadamer also. Several secondary sources and the BBC’s Tribe on the Akie (with Bruce Parry) will additionally be examined to develop a thorough understanding of the matter at hand.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Crimes of Passion: the Human Limits of Moral Convention

Could human natural intuitions ever be fully repressed by moral convention? Could our emotions ever be fully rationalized? Are we indeed rational beings? Is it necessary for us to be rational? What do our emotions mean? How do we direct them? In this project I will try to challenge conventional morality towards the feeling we have for something that is considered to be wrong, namely murder. I will use the method of reflective equilibrium in order to test moral philosophy and convention with the authentic human intuitions. Human life is indeed valuable but the main point is that human impulses cannot (or maybe, should not) be fully rationalized.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Nietzsche – Aesthetic Jesus?

How far can we know ‘truth’ From artistic works? Comparing Nietzsche’s thought that we are living in delusion with Ayn Rand’s bitter Objectivism. Can we know and reflect an external reality through painting? Using Nietzsche’s ‘On Truth and Lies in a non-moral sense’ and Rand’s ‘The Romantic Manifesto’. In essence, we cannot attain rigid truth, but there are degrees of truth which we can have access to through our senses, even if delusional, these hold some consistencies. With Euclidean geometry, traditional versus modern art, Adorno, and quantum art…

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

The Punishment of a Serial Killer. Is Utility Morality?

CONCEPT: The mind behind serial murder and the influence of mental illness on our judgement of correct punishment.

PHILOSOPHY: Mill’s Utilitarianism and Mill’s Speech in Favour of Capital Punishment; exploring contradictions, claims of morality and the influence of human nature.

SOURCES: newspaper reports, true story based films along with texts on Capital Punishment by Hodgkinson and Schabas and secondary texts on utilitarianism such as Utilitarian ethics by A. Quinton.

It was the relationship between mental illness and crimes of murder that first inspired my investigation into the punishment of a serial killer. I began to question what evidence of mental illness meant for the responsibility of the crime and how the law ought to respond to this. My initial intuition is that regardless of this, murder rates MUST be reduced, and so the introduction of a harsher punishment is necessary. Although, I am aware this causes problems when bringing up any causes that may have influenced the murder.

My aim is to use various reactions to the controversial issue of the death penalty to construct whether it is right to make judgements and decisions based purely on the ‘utility’ of the outcome.

Our reasons for and against capital punishment may not have an outcome of utility in mind but purely ‘what is right’. As well as the mental state of the criminal, many of us cannot but care for the right to life of the criminal, even for he who commits the worst crime imagin

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Nature vs Nurture. Why do Serial Killers Kill?

Can a serial killer ever be moral or good? What leads someone to kill repeatedly? Is it a genetic fault or the result of a neglected childhood?

In this project I have chosen to explore the illustrious philosophical debate of Nature vs Nurture in the context of serial killers. I want to better understand how the mind of a killer works and come to a strong supposition of whether of not it is something that they innately possess within their minds, a ‘killing gene’ or whether their behaviour is a result of the evils of society and an unkempt upbringing. On a philosophical front I am going to explore Free will and Determinism, Hobbes and Mill’s Direct and Indirect Obligation and Kant’s Intuitionism and Moral Conscience.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

It’s Better if You Don’t Own Land

Aim: to determine if humanity has a right to own land

When progress is interpreted in respect to potential living standards, it is undeniable that examples such as the developments made in medicine are evidence of humanity’s progress.

BUT: 10% of the world (0.88 billion) live on an income of under $1 a day
20 years leading up to 1997 child poverty doubled worldwide.
Mortality rates: North America (7) VS Africa (88).