2022 Abstracts Stage 2

At what point does a serial killer’s moral and ethical point of view change? And is this influenced by their sociology and psychology?

Rebecca Devine, 2022, Stage 2

In general, over the past decade, there has been an increase in documentaries about serial murderers to the point where websites are suggesting the top ten to watch. This intrigued me to the point where I wanted to investigate further; I wanted to look at the point time when their morality and ethical viewpoint changed from what would be considered to be an average person to their infamous persona of the killer and assess this investigation through a philosophical point of view. The typical serial murderer is seen to be an intelligent white man from a middle-class background. Still, I wanted to know if I could prove otherwise by looking at people from poorer backgrounds, those of different ethnicities and differing genders. This was achieved by utilising the arguments of Aristotle. How people become virtuous, Luther and Erasmus on the debate of free will to determine whether these people acted of their own volition, and finally, Freud and his concepts of Trauma, Repression and Dream to see whether these influence the people in question too, or if they are born evil. Ultimately, I conclude that all of the areas discussed combined may cause the serial murderer, but trauma and the lack of virtuous people in their lives contribute more than the others. Equally, this has opened more questions regarding these people’s level of responsibility.

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