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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

If there is a necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then whose duty is it?

In this project, I will assess the extent of the necessity to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions on a practical level. Our duty is our moral or legal responsibility to do something. In this case, our duty is to reduce the emissions of GHGs that are contributing to the global warming effect. This effect is causing climate change, which has negative global impacts. I will provide philosophical claims from a number of philosophers namely Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. I will also offer my own insights in conjunction with this.

The object I will be discussing is the reduction of GHG emissions. I will consider this from a wide perspective from international and national authorities to businesses as well as on an individual level. My territory is questioning the extent and type of duty that these different groups have in order to combat the impacts of increasing GHG emissions. I hope this project will provide a unique angle for philosophically assessing how the approach to sustainability and climate change prevention varies on a wide scope. There is an expanding need for lawful duty to reduce GHGs due to ongoing inaction, although this is difficult to implement internationally without being vague due to the varying social and economic conditions of countries across the globe. I will conclude that we have a collective moral duty to reduce our GHG emissions.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Patriotism and Whether It is Beneficial to British Society

This project explores patriotism and nationalism and whether it is beneficial to a society, with a specific interest in Britain. The object I use to begin to talk about patriotism is the novel Journey to the End of the Night by French author Louis-Ferdinand Céline which is based on his experiences during the First World War. He is very anti-patriotic, viewing patriotism as meaningless and not something worth supporting. I look at the similarities and differences between patriotism and nationalism, then explore both concepts philosophically mainly using the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Simon Keller, and Stephen Nathanson. I then look at the history of patriotism in Britain from during the World Wars and after, understanding the role of the right-wing, mass media, and the effects it has had on the left and working classes. Following this I turn to the modern day, reviewing data collected on support of patriotism in Britain, how it less common amongst the youth, and how a growing dissatisfaction for the government shapes this. I come to the conclusion that people would want the ability to be patriotic, to be proud of the country to which they belong, but how patriots act needs change.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Assessing the Ethical Justification of Cryptocurrencies: A Multilevel Economic Analysis Spanning Micro and Macro Perspectives

Cryptocurrencies have experienced rapid growth in terms of their usage and adoption, showing that they have the potential to change how th economic world functions. Through the use of various ethical theories, these being utilitarianism with reference to Bentham and Singer, Deontology and Kantian ethics and Social Contract Theory looking at the ideas of Locke and Rawls. This paper intends to evaluate whether cryptocurrencies can be justified through an examination of their effect on micro and macroeconomics, by applying the ethical theories and reaching a conclusion through them.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

To what extent does asexuality occupy a space of resistance in relation to Western culture and adjacent values?

This essay tackles the question as to what the function asexuality embodies within or against Western culture. In recent years, the sexual orientation of asexuality, characterised by a lack of sexual attraction towards others, has been increasingly made aware, leading to a deeper understanding of human sexuality. Yet, it remains to be concluded whether this new understanding of sexuality can be incorporated into the Western perception of asexuality. Or whether it inadvertently functions as a challenge to Western culture and adjacent values. Utilising both academic and philosophical works- such as Bogaert, Plato, and Freud- providing a range of varying views directly or indirectly dealing with the object of asexuality. By analysing these sources, asexuality is demonstrated to have expanded one’s understanding of human sexuality, the progression of attraction and arousal. This immediately stands in opposition to the high value and pushing of sexual relations of the Western world as the path to happiness, validating the argument of asexuality’s function as an enlightening, inoffensive resistance to Western culture.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Dungeons & Dragons or Enlightenment and Play

This project socially critiques the tabletop fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. To this end, I engage with game studies to clarify notions of play and Joseph P. Laycock’s account of meaning production within D&D specifically. For these thinkers, play provides a space constitutively separated from and opposed to external life. This is an imaginative activity. Laycock highlights quasi-religious function of engaging in imagined worlds through a sacred order in D&D. I critique these accounts for their undeveloped social theory, which foreshortens their analysis, taking play or the religious sentiment as historically invariant rather than as social and historical products. As a background to this critique, I engage with the critical theory of Adorno and Horkheimer. For them, the self-defeat of the Enlightenment characterises the contemporary social world. The former failed to realise its promise of liberation and instead continued the domination it sought to overcome.
I go on to unfold the historical dialectic of D&D. From its inception, it has been a product of bourgeois society which serves its work process, despite its ostensible separation from external life. Play and narrative, in the form of the novel, both have utopian possibilities in turning against the world as it is; I contend that D&D regresses from these into an appendage of the work process which disappoints the existent possibilities of games and novels in truly opposing the ruling order. Rather than overcome magic, D&D mimics the magical practice of sacrifice in sacrificing the player’s own prohibited desires which would contradict the social process. Yet it does so in a form thoroughly characteristic of the Enlightenment; therefore, it can only be classed as regression.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation Into The Relationship Between The Law Of Attraction And Philosophy

This essay will draw upon philosophical ideas to attempt to explain the origins of the Law of Attraction and identify its philosophical background despite its new age modernity. It is beyond the scope of this essay to verify the Law of Attractions ultimate existence; for the purposes of the research, it is only important to acknowledge the theory as a conceptual observation. Authenticity of the law is not under question here, but rather the social and philosophical foundations that it is built upon. The Law of Attraction is a universal law based on the principle that whatever is given out by thought or action is returned to the subject. As Bryne, a leader in popularising the doctrine contemporarily, suggests, “we create powerful emotions about what is in our minds..then the law of attraction returns the same to us” (Byrne, 2012, p.114). This law states that any personal desire can only be accomplished objectively and externally by concentration and positive thinking (Curtis, 2009, p.250).
Increasingly evident in its growth and positioning in the mainstream sphere, the implication of the law of attraction itself, is that as it is presented as a law, there are underlying sciences contributing to its establishment. By using applications of traditional schools of thought including Stoicism and Epistemology, I attempt to establish linkages instead between the logic behind the Law of Attraction and philosophical thought. The law of attraction is often validated by a combination of scientific and pseudoscientific theories, thus creating duality in its background

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

To What Extent Can you Change your Own Personality?

A Study into Human Nature: To What Extent Can you Change your Own Personality?

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

A philosophical investigation into the enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran.

On September 16, 2022, 22 year old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Tehran, Iran’s capital, following her arrest for wearing her veil incorrectly. She died as a result of the strict enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran, a law which has been in effect since 1983. In this dissertation I conduct a genealogy of the veil in order to understand its development as a moral phenomenon, following the genealogical methodology employed by Friedrich Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality. I examine the relationship between modesty, hair and sexuality in order to determine why the veil is so highly valued in Iran. I adopt Nietzsche’s theory of perspectivism in order to overcome the Western misconception that the veil is necessarily oppressive, and instead argue that it is the Iranian veiling laws which are oppressive. I then analyse Edward Said’s Orientalism, focusing on the ways in which the West has represented the East according to Said, and the implications of Orientalism for Western perceptions of the veil. I suggest the adoption of a postcolonial feminist attitude in order to redefine the problem in Iran as a feminist problem, not a religious one.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Has the British monarchy been deteriorated the working class and if so, why would the working class support it?

The British monarchy has been apart of the political intuition for centuries. Despite being one of the few monarchies left, there is still a great amount of love for the monarch. However, it is unusual that the working class of Britain would support this ideology in comparison to a complete democracy.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

ACCORDING TO LIBERALISM, IS INDIVIDUAL WELFARE DEPENDENT ON STATE INTERACTION?

State interaction is a variable that each governing authority has to examine and judge in relation to individual welfare. After examining a variety of political philosophers and their beliefs on state interaction, I propose this thesis. While there is an argument for minimal state interaction, the most optimal way to promote individual welfare is through the level of state interaction that John Rawls proposes in A Theory of Justice. More state interaction than this is detrimental to individual welfare as it infringes on individual rights, and less state interaction than this has the potential to create vast inequalities within communities.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Rise of Apocalyptic Styling Following the Covid-19 Pandemic and its Effects.

My project is set in the domain of existential fashion, particularly the rise of apocalyptic styling following the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, both positive and negative. I have drawn philosophical concepts from the works of Jacques Derrida, including his ‘Of Grammatology’. Alongside this, I have referred to Ulrick Beck’s ‘Risk Society’, Risikogesellschaft (1986), in relation to people becoming increasingly preoccupied with a sense of impending doom that has been brought about by the pandemic: portrayed through recent fashion choices and explorations. To support my discussion further, I have incorporated the works of Marilynn H. Johnson in her Adorning Bodies (2022), in which she explores the philosophical implications of bodily adornment. Johnson notes that existential feelings and thoughts inspiring people’s fashion decisions, are not uncommon. As we have seen previously, different trends and popularity of statement pieces of clothing, rise following grand world events, such as in the 1960s in response to the Vietnam war and adjacent Civil Rights movement. The rise of apocalyptic fashion serves as proof of the determination and adaptability of human beings, along with our willingness to persevere through difficult situations, and it is this that I have delved into in this project.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

“Genealogy of Power: Tracing the Penal System within Educational Institutions”

This essay explores the genealogy of the penal system as a paradigm for understanding power dynamics within educational institutions, drawing from the philosophical works of Michel Foucault and Friedrich Nietzsche. Building on Foucault’s theoretical framework, this investigation delves into the structures of power and discipline, including hierarchical observation and normalising judgement, and their pervasive presence within contemporary educational environments. Nietzsche’s insights from ‘On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life’ and ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’ offer an additional lens to critically appraise the formation and enforcement of norms in these settings. Cinematic representations of these concepts, primarily found in Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If….’ and Peter Weir’s ‘Dead Poets Society’, are analysed to provide tangible illustrations of Foucault’s and Nietzsche’s theories within institutionalised education. The essay demonstrates how, akin to the penal system, educational institutions exercise power, regulate behaviour, and manage deviation, resulting in a profound influence on individual formation and societal coherence. By juxtaposing the penal and educational systems, this analysis highlights the urgency of addressing the inherent power imbalances and restrictive norms within educational institutions to promote more equitable learning environments.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the concept of moral development considered a key factor within the field of education or is its importance misunderstood?

Moral development is a highly important factor within childhood and adolescence and requires intense focus and interest in order to produce a well-rounded, virtuous adult in later life who knows how to properly differentiate between good and bad and right and wrong. However, the source of this focus and interest is key to the outcome. During childhood, a large proportion of time is spent in education meaning most of the interactions children have come from academic professionals and their peers, meaning this is where they will effectively develop their morals and virtues, but is there a risk mainstream education will prioritise academic education instead of the pastoral side?

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Civil Disobedience in the Tik-Tok Generation

In this project, I focused on the overturning of Roe V. Wade, a law which made abortion a constitutional right in all of the American states, which occurred in June 2022 and the resulting reaction of ‘Gen Z’ which was displayed on TikTok. I applied Nietzsche’s understanding of the Master and Slave morality and providing a discussion on how the new TikTok generation can provide a reintroduction of the Master morality to society. Focusing on the Christian moral principles which prevail in US politics and how this allowed the overturning to take place, whilst discussing how those in power maintain a Slave morality. Furthermore, I used Rawls’ understanding of civil disobedience to analyse how TikTok has provided a new platform for ‘Gen Z’ to engage in their own forms of civil disobedience, in response to the Roe V. Wade overturning. I used examples of civil disobedience documented on TikTok in response to the ruling and provided an analysis of their engagement to understand how the impact of their civil disobedience has been amplified as a result of TikTok. Hence, determining that TikTok successfully demonstrates Rawls’ understanding of civil disobedience.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Why is Idolatry Wrong From an Islamic Perspective?

The territory of my project is theology and the object is idolatry. The purpose of my project is to research Islamic monotheism or tawhid and aspects of Islamic mysticism, namely notions such as the purification of the heart (tassawuf) and analyse its relationship with idolatry and polytheism. Monotheistic and polytheistic traditions differ in their interpretation and engagement of the multiplicity of relationships between the transcended and created. The idea of a transcendent God is prevalent in many polytheistic traditions exemplified in Hinduism, Neoplatonism, Egyptian and Babylonian traditions. Thus polytheistic traditions cannot be reduced to the opposite of the common monotheistic belief of “One God”. On the contrary, unity has always been an important notion in the traditions stated above, yet these religions do worship a plethora of gods, hence unity in this case does not mean the sole worship of one God. I will attempt to explore and answer two questions: If many polytheistic traditions have a belief in a transcendent God, why is it wrong to practice idolatry? And can a person be a monotheist, but also believe in many Gods? The position from which I will answer these questions is that of a Muslim, from which I will assume that polytheism is wrong and considered the worst sin one can perform in Islam. I will also assume that the Qur’anic narrative of idolatry is correct and will use it as the underlying foundation of my project.
I will attempt to answer the two questions stated above by means of a interpretative methodology, through the reading of Sufi mystic Abū ‘Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī. Upon reading the former, I will highlight his cosmological system of wahdat-al wujud (The Unity of Being) to establish an understanding of the transcendent God and explore the concept of unity. For the second chapter, which concerns itself with notion of monotheistic idolatry, my primary reading will be Al-Raghib al-Isfahani ‘al-Dhar‘ia’ and his notion of the purification of the heart and its relation to idolatry.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Should Criminals be Allowed to Have Children?

A current and stimulating insight into the question of whether criminals should be allowed to have children. With staggering statistics such as ‘online grooming crimes have risen by more than 80% in four years’ (NSPCC, 2022 raising important philosophical questions about whether it would better for society if criminals were prohibited from having children. Understanding the many moral dimensions to such a complex question is key in the debate of whether criminals should be allowed to have children.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A Discussion of the Psychic Mechanisms Within Cinematic Catharsis

The emotional release that is often felt by spectators when observing cinema is an interesting focus in the context for Freud’s catharsis, as early cinema was still developing as an art form when he wrote his various works. He extensively discussed the psychic mechanisms at play during dreams, fantasy and even when telling jokes yet applying his theories of repression and the unconscious to cinema specifically has produced insight into the unique experience of being a spectator to cinema.

This dissertation explores the role of catharsis in cinema, focusing on the 2016 television series ‘Fleabag’ and analysing the psychic mechanisms at play during such catharsis. My object therefore is Cinema and Fleabag and the territory is catharsis.
Cinema is referenced through a variety of secondary sources and Fleabag is referenced through Phoebe Waller- Bridge’s original scripts- The Scriptures (2020).
Aristotelian Catharsis is reference through his Poetics (1995) which influenced Freudian catharsis as demonstrated in Breuer and Freud’s Studies in Hysteria (2004) which describe a therapeutic technique which harnesses the process of catharsis to treat neurotic patients. Finally, I discuss the feminine experience of catharsis with reference to the popular culture term dissociative feminism, relating it to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (2011).

By the above primary thinkers, my project demonstrates that the process of cinematic catharsis is purgative because it facilitates a processing of unconscious conflict, even if we are unaware of it.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Plural Expression: Exploring the place of music in ethics and politics through the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot

The purpose of my project is to engage with the question ‘is there an ethical relation in art?’ as posed by Emmanuel Levinas in Reality and its Shadow. My aim is twofold, first to demonstrate my belief, using Levinas’ ethico-phenomenological framework, that in the performance of improvised music, at least between bandmates, we find an ethical relation consistent with the one that Levinas outlines in his work. Thus, finding Reality and its Shadow to be inconsistent with Levinas’ system.
My second aim is to expand on this inconsistency to critique Levinas’ system more broadly, outside of his framework and using Maurice Blanchot’s notion of community to do so – the aim of this is to further the case for the ethics, or at least ethical potential, of art as well as a more positive role of art within a community. To do this requires making apparent, what I see as, the shortcomings of and stifling nature of Levinas’ ethical theory.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The Historical Progression of Superman

This project is on the historical progression of Superman the DC Comics character and how messianic themes have been built into his character. Superman is an 85 year old comic book superhero and has changed drastically since his original inception. If one looks into this progression, one can see from the very outset throughout the 20th into the 21st century, Superman has been portrayed as a messiah, and concepts of messianism and divinity are also what has drawn audiences across the world to the Man of Tomorrow. Using thinkers such as Thomas Carlyle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Bloch, I will demonstrate these ideas.