2011 Abstracts Stage 2

An Attempted Analysis of the Rationality of Ted Bundy

Liam Emmerson, 2011, Stage 2

My Project is based upon the serial killer Ted Bundy who murdered and raped at least 30 women.

The initial preconception is that there is something ‘evil’ about Bundy.

My aim is to look beyond these initial preconceived ideas and understand the mind of Bundy by focusing on his rationality.

The philosophical concepts I will use include:

Freud’s notion of the unconscious: Investigating Bundy’s childhood in relation to the Oedipus complex. Looking at the Id, Ego, and Superego and the possible variations in neurosis and psychosis.

Kantian rationality: Transcendental rationality in the moral law vs. Instrumental rationality in the sensible world. The need for duty as opposed to inclinations. The Categorical Imperative vs. The Hypothetical Imperative and the notion of Radical Evil.

Durkheim’s social thesis: The need for serial killing in deviant behaviour. The Division of Labour on modern society. The impact of capitalism on the rise of serial killing and the concept of organic solidarity.

Each theory will give a different perspective determining to what extent Bundy is rational; the inference of this will be an evaluation of whether the initial preconceived ideas of Bundy being ‘evil’ is credible.

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