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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Are British Children in Trouble? A study of the UNICEF survey 2007 – An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries

“A true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.” (UNICEF, 2007) • So why is Britain supposedly the worst place to bring up children? • Have things changed and worsened in the past hundred years, or is it just media hype? • What can be done to improve the upbringing of children? I focussed on children’s relationships, looking at how the family structure has changed, using Hegel as a historical comparison from the Enlightenment. I also looked at children’s subjective well-being, seeing how children in Britain view their health, school life and personal self worth. I then saw how consumerism and contemporary society affects the formation of a child’s identity. I used MacIntyre, Taylor and Giddens’ concept of narrative identity.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The Introduction of Pupils to a Set of Values: the Inescapable Task of Education?

Territory: My initial study took place in West Jesmond Primary School, in Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I spent time in the school and particular classrooms collating information and observing the ways in which values are promoted within the school. Aims: My intentions were to discover the ways in which children are educated beyond the curriculum within school. I paid close attention to the following questions: • In what ways are we educated outside of the classroom? • What impact does our upbringing and initial education have on adulthood? • What consequences does education regarding values have on society as a whole? • Is there a responsibility for teachers/parents to introduce children to a set of values? Philosophy and Sources: After much deliberation I cut down my interest in philosophers to the work of Sartre and Freud. I concentrated my study on Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism and Freud’s New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis. I used documents from the National Curriculum to support my findings and in particular the Statement of values by the National Forum for Values in Education and the Community.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Black Sabbath and Surrealism? Does their Music Display Ressentiment with Respect to Nietzsche?

Territory: Black Sabbath, their music shaped a new movement and style, the term ‘heavy metal’ came about to embody their music. Often overlooked and discarded Sabbath’s music would go on to be the forerunner and influence of many other great rock and metal artists. Concepts: My project aims to explore the territory of Black Sabbath and its relation, or non-relation, to the ideals and principles of Surrealism. I shall also be using the secondary concept of ressentiment in music using Nietzsche’s works on The Birth of Tragedy and use other musical styles to support my ideas. These shall be my two main concepts but I will also be using other philosophers that have interested me and have specific relevance to my project, for example Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Idea in which he discusses the role of music in society. My interest is to see if I can apply philosophies intended for their own times to a modern era of music.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

After Modernity – Colliding Dialects or Voices in Chorus?

The aim of this project is to understand UK hip-hop as a form of cultural expression through a comparison with British folk-revival. Both can be understood as rejections of modernity. Central concepts for discussion will be: tradition and community individuality and novelty, modernism and postmodernism. For an understanding of folk-revival and tradition, I will examine Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. MacIntyre’s conception of tradition and virtue ethics will be compared with Nietzsche and the ethics of postmodernism or late capitalism.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

What is the Game of Love?

When we fall in love, we fall first for the physical appearance and then for the beauty that the other embodies. We fall in love with the ‘who’ that radiates through a face and a body. In that gaze we unite the flesh and spirit of the loved one and reveal them as an unrepeatable existence. Lovers perceive their fragility in the world, and so they entrust each other to corporeal language, and by exposing themselves to each other, seek an unrepeatable, whole and necessary existence (Cavarero: 2000). The amorous game creates a scene for the unification of body and mind, a place where the content of being can be released. In this unification you can feel as though you are part of the world soul, fragile in the external yet consumed by the fleeting power to appreciate ulterior forms; to know love and to know what it is to exist

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The Role of Museums and Libraries in the Preservation and Building of Knowledge

-Are the ideas of institutions such as museums and libraries relevant any longer in postmodern society? – People are increasingly becoming very distanced from their past and their heritage. Within postmodernity, the past seems to have been separated from our everyday lives. It is frequently looked at as something that is no longer relevant. We sometimes seem so focused on progress that we ignore how we came to be where we are in the first place – Can development exist without any reference to the past? – In modernity we look at the past because we can see the ways in which it has affected and created the present, and will do also, for the future, therefore, we cannot fully separate the idea of development from a narrative of history. I am looking at the ways in which institutions such as museums and libraries contribute to growing knowledge and inventiveness, by enabling us to have access to the knowledge, discoveries and great works of the past.Table2[@Title]

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Empathy Boxes … and … Substance D … and Bleekman … and Newspaper Puzzles … and … Gubble … and … Ubik … and … Exegeses: Becoming Philip K. Dick

I will explore the life and work of Philip K. Dick, best known for writing Science Fiction, by closely examining a number of his novels, as well as a selection of his non-fictional, philosophical, theological and literary writings, coupled with information obtained from biographies and interviews with the man himself. The main themes permeating his life and work which I will explore are the nature of reality, the psyche and humanity, especially in relation to contemporary capitalist society. Of particular interest will be his exploration of the concepts of sanity, considering his views on schizophrenia and paranoia, and his treatment of ideas about selfhood, identity and subjectivity. I will explore these areas in terms of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, both alone and in collaboration with Felix Guattari. I will pay particular attention to the concepts of schizoanalysis, rhizomatics, territorialization, lines of flight, nomadology, becomings, machines and difference. My aim, rather than to reach a definitive conclusion, is simply to explore the vast and complex works of both men, using each to shed light on the other, and to pose questions, rather than propose answers, which will have a profound effect on the way we view the world.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Capitalist Hong Kong – Model or Threat to China?

Project Territory: China and its special administrative region, Hong Kong. Areas of Investigation: One country – two systems – to try to preserve the economic and political strengths that Hong Kong had built up and to maintain its capitalist free market, Hong Kong was offered the option of setting up a ‘one country, two systems’ policy – giving Hong Kong a great degree of autonomy from China. Capitalist paradise, communist paradise? Capitalism in Hong Kong has developed since the Second World War, and the region is now known to be a leading example of a laissez-faire capitalist economy. Attracting mainland Chinese and expatriates from afar, Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs over the last few decades have made extreme achievements. In opposition to Hong Kong’s capitalism, China’s Communist Party is the world’s largest political party. After the ‘May Fourth’ anti-imperialist movement in 1919, Marxist ideas began diffusing throughout China. Today though, the question that has to be asked is whether China is now a communist, socialist, nationalist or even capitalist society. Western Hong Kong, Eastern China. China has been much longer in development than Hong Kong has if the start of Hong Kong’s true development is considered to have begun only when the British gained control of it. Before this time, Hong Kong was, compared to the size of China, an insignificant port on China’s South coast. It can be said then, that Hong Kong has a more Western development behind it, while China, obviously had an Eastern viewpoint behind its development. Philosophical Ideas: John Locke – liberalism in relation to Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ method of government. Karl Marx – capitalism and communism, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The Communist Manifesto in relation to the governing principles of China. Max Weber – Weber’s connection between religion and economics and a brief look at his discussion of an ideal type of capitalism. Guy Debord – modern lives being invaded by the ‘spectacle’ and our passivity towards our own existences. This is related to China’s lack of freedom of speech and no free press forcing passivity onto the Chinese population. Conclusion: Hong Kong took risks – risks that worked to Hong Kong’s advantage – however, as the term ‘risk’ suggests, Hong Kong’s actions could just have easily made the region head down another road completely. Today, Hong Kong is not taking risks, but under the risk of China’s influence. Is Hong Kong a model or a threat to China? – The question may have to be reversed to China – model or threat to Hong Kong?

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Who am I? The Problem with Personhood

What happens when personhood is threatened by a disease such as Dementia? In this project I intend to examine what exactly determines personhood, identity and the self in the elderly when threatened by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. How can attitudes and care make a difference in our consideration of what exactly it means to be a person? Philosophy offers an account of personhood that science cannot entirely explain. Using thinkers such as Locke and Damasio this project will look at some of the prevailing theories of identity in dementia and what steps we can take to preserve personhood.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Dream or Reality?

After experiencing a dream so real to me I could not believe I was dreaming I have come to question what I believe to be real around me. In this project I have investigated the present and past key concepts, thoughts and theories behind dreaming and lucid dreaming, it became clear to me quickly much of my thoughts are that of a skeptic I quite literally began to doubt everything around me. Descartes is famous for his dream argument so his meditations are a key feature within my project as he has influenced the works of Freud who also came up with some key theories to dreaming and why we dream. I introduce the idea of the Truman show and the matrix as recent examples of people’s thoughts about reality, technology today allows for these science fiction films to be made and they are made in such a way where you sit back and think well why not? Why can’t that be real? What is the point to all of this? My intentions were to evaluate whether or not the “truth” is worth pursuing…or is ignorance quite literally bliss? Are dreams an escape to a realm that is perhaps more real to us than the life we consider to be real while we are awake, or is it quite literally what you see is what you get. Do we create our own realities and if we do then does this mean millions of different realities exist as we can never know for sure we all perceive things in exactly the same way as the person next to us.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

An Essay Concerning the Two Possible Outcomes for Society

My territory for my project is society itself and I have been looking at two possible scenarios that could happen. The first scenario which I call the left wing scenario is where society could go down the road to anarchy because of course of the youth going out of control and the striping away the powers of the parents and teachers of punishing the youth for doing wrong. To argue my case for this scenario I shall be primarily using Thomas Hobbes and his book Leviathan. I shall also be using the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami as a comparison to this scenario. The second scenario is what I call the right wing scenario this is where the government tries to counter the trend of declining into anarchy by putting in place legislation to the places they see as the causes of the problems. The problem is if they continue to increase the laws it could unintentionally end up a repressive state obsessed with keeping order. To back up my argument on this point I shall use both Hobbes and Niccollò Machiavelli’s book The Prince. And use the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell to use as a comparison to this scenario. I will then conclude with my thoughts on the matter. And start an introduction to the solution to the problems posed by the two scenarios to try and prevent them from happening.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophical Concept of what it means to be Emo

This project will look at the Sorrows of Young Werther in Conjunction with an example of emotionally hardcore internet blogging in order to establish the significance of emotional intensity seen today in youth groups. The sorrows of young Werther depicts a fictional 18th century character that holds many similarities to the type of life many modern youths aspire too. Primarily this project is concerned with exploring the emotionally hardcore movement that is taking place, and how this will affect future social change. Werther channelled his emotional intensity through art and literature, using it as a way of expressing his anguish. The emotionally hardcore individual uses art and music as a form of expression, and literature as a way to ‘blog’ this way of life, through means of fictional and factual storytelling, and also poetry. Using concepts of alienation, aesthetics, romanticism and existentialism, this project will analysis the emotionally hardcore individual, society’s objections and the emotionally hardcore movement as a whole. In historical format this project will look at how the sorrows of young Werther symbolises an apparent social theme of alienation from the masses. Secondary to the above, the thoughts of Schiller will be examined with reference to romanticism as a whole. This hopefully will shed light on the importance of emotion, passion and Romance within. Hopefully this project will look at the emotionally hardcore movement in a way that has never been undertaken before, therefore examining a section of social progression that is personal and individual to me.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

A Discussion on the Subject of Arts, Politics and Authenticity

The nature of this discussion does not lend itself to a specific object on which to focus, the subject is simply too vast. However, the central topic of this discussion is the question concerning the possibility of existence or extinction of authenticity in a highly consumerist culture. The topic led me to discuss many subsequent questions: Heidegger’s temple, in which ‘world’ becomes manifest. Can this relate to contemporary song? Can life affirming, world reflecting, active truth be found in a contemporary song? Is it possible to be both a ‘mainstream’ and an authentic artist? Can art and artist ever really validate or justify their influence on social change and politics, does it exist at all or, does surrealism and artistic social/political/philosophical commentary fall inevitably back into consumerism? If we conclude that ‘symbolic authenticity’ (the representation in art of underlying popular, time and culture specific ‘feeling’ and opinion) is compromised by capitalism and consumerism, are the feelings and opinions themselves compromised? The main areas of focus as outlined above are discussed with reference to Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, Sigmund Freud and Andre Breton.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Disability. Is the way we Treat Disabled People Today Right?

Territory: Disability. Object: The treatment of disabled people. Concepts: Equality, Dependence. Change: Treatment of disabled people over time. Thinkers: Singer, MacIntyre. Questions I am going to consider: • The idea of ‘normality’, and whether a disabled person can constitute a ‘normal person’. • The idea of inclusion and whether disabled people can be considered to be included as normal members of our society. • Both of these things, normality and inclusion, relate to the concept of equality. Are disabled people equals to people without disabilities? • Is the language used in reference to disabled people appropriate or could it be improved upon? • How much does independence matter to a disabled person? Should they have greater independence despite their limitations? Sources: • ‘The Disability Reader’, edited by Tom Shakespeare, 1998, Continuum • ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’, Jean-Dominique Bauby, 2008, Harper Perennial • ‘Practical Ethics’, Peter Singer, 1993, Cambridge University Press • ‘Rational Dependent Animals, Alasdair MacIntyre, 1999, Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The BNP: the British Nazi Party?

Territory: Anti-Semitism in Hitler’s Mein Kampf vs. anti-immigration policies in the BNP Manifestos – “scapegoatism” of cultural minorities in right-wing politics. Objectives: • to identify the evolution of nationalism in the Western world. • to investigate the impact that cultural diversification has upon our attitudes towards others – has racism truly dissipated? • to consider why the exaggerated fantasy of the conspirator is so readily accepted to blame; do we genuinely believe minorities are responsible for our misery? • to decide objectively whether closedness is the more natural reaction to alterity. Concepts: • Reductio ad Hitlerum? (Leo Strauss) • “Scapegoatism” of minorities for social problems. • Žižek: ‘the Other’ as a threat – che vuoi? • Levinas: ‘the Other’ as superior – height and openness.

Categories
2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Eldon Square: the Culture of Consumerism

In my project I observe the phenomenon of consumption and its cultural implications on our day society. I believe it is very important to demonstrate the complexity and measure of the subject and I attempt to demonstrate some of the key issues through analysing Newcastle’s own Eldon Square shopping centre. My philosophical concept is based on the material of Jean Baudrillard. I believe he showed a real insight in the complexity and complicatedness of consumerism through the notion of the political economy of the sign and demonstrated how sign functions in the relations that involve economic, symbolic and use value exchange.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Is our Treatment Towards Animals Morally Acceptable in Today’s Modern Society?

Introduction- Why does today’s society hold such diverse attitudes towards animals? Can controversial practices such as factory farming be justified in our anthropocentric society or is it time to modify our relationship with animals? Aim- In my investigation I want to establish why society is so confused regarding the moral of animals. I will consider how our attitudes towards animals in society have changed throughout history by examining the influences of religion and science. After establishing this I then wanted to scrutinize the relevant philosophical theories which I believe are present in our attitudes now. Kant’s notion of personhood justifies using animals in any way for human benefit and thus is appropriate regarding some of today’s animal practices e.g. animal testing. Singer’s utilitarian outlook which considers animals to have equal moral status with mankind can be related to other aspects of society’s attitudes e.g animal charities. Finally I will examine Owen’s ecological outlook on nature which relates to society’s growing concern for the wellbeing of the whole of the natural world. After considering the strengths and weaknesses of all these views I could then establish which moral attitudes we ought to adopt and enforce.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

The Role of the Government in Modern Britain: do Recent Health Policies Reflect Welcome Guidance or Unwarranted Interference?

Territory: I chose to look at the Government’s recent health policies particularly the July 2007 Smoking ban in public places. This has led me to consider the term “Nanny State” commonly associated with the government today and conceptions of the role of government in general. Concepts: The concepts chose to look at are the role of both the government and individual in a society and fundamentally the concept of liberty in the context of society. Aims: My objective was to evaluate how the role of the government has changed, culminating in recent government plans to introduce a contractual scheme regulating access to the National Health Service. By considering the views of groups such as “Forest” and individuals fighting for the liberties which are seemingly under threat, I was able to evaluate whether the government is justified in its action or whether it is indeed encroaching upon our individual liberties. This led me to look at the contrasting political views of Hobbes and Mill, thereby evaluating different conceptions of the government and its relationship with the individual. With Hobbes I considered his presentation of the social contract and the issues of freedom that ensue with such a strict, systematic view of human nature, such as the risk of totalitarian government and the repression of human rights. To contrast this view, I contemplated Mill’s more liberal attitude to the role of government, which favours individual responsibility, whilst not forgetting the societal problems associated with laissez-faire governments. To conclude I evaluated the role of an ideal government and the effect this has on our perception of our own government, leading me to argue that the government is ultimately a manifestation of the actions of the individual.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The War on Terrorism

This project investigates the motivations behind different terrorist attacks. From what drives them to become involved in terrorism to the different positions that are open to them and finally the effectiveness of their role and the influence of society’s perception. I decided to title my project “The War on Terrorism”. By my title I do not mean the campaign that was initiated by America and joined by other countries throughout the world to ‘curb the spread of terrorism’. My project will discuss the reasons why this campaign will not work. This War on Terrorism was authorized by the United States Congress under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists and was passed on the 18th of September 2001 after the attacks on America on 9/11. The object I plan to focus on is a scene from the film ‘The Kingdom’. The reason for this is because it is a film about terrorism, which I think compliments the objective I am trying to prove. The reason why I chose this is film is because at the start of the film when the terrorist bomb goes off in the housing compound, Agent Fleury whispers in one of his associate’s ears in comfort something we as the audience cannot hear. Then in one of the latest scenes when the leader of the terrorist group is shot and is dying he whispers to a young girl in comfort something that again we as the audience can’t hear. Then in the final scene each person reveals what was said to them. It was, “Don’t worry, we’ll kill them all.” This for me is very significant because it showed that even though the American agent was claiming to be bringing justice to the terrorists he was actually just looking to kill them all for killing his comrades. Both sides had the same objective, they both wanted to kill. How will this ever stop terrorism? My parallel territory was the Cold War as I believe no other event in history has affected world politics as the same way the Cold War did in the mid 1940’s till the early 1990’s. Terrorism has taken its place in modern day politics. The concepts I identified throughout my project were power, identity and the loss of identity. I believe America’s waging of war on terror was just an assertion of power and way in which to reinsert them as the main hegemonic power throughout the world. A philosophers whose work I have used is Ted Honderich, especially his work terrorism for Humanity which raises many difficult questions that are unavoidable at this moment in time as the war on terror rages. Questions related to the morality of terrorism and the use of political violence. In this work Honderich’s arguments for and against terrorism are directed towards the goal of the Principle of humanity. The questions which are raised throughout run along the lines of when is terrorism right, if ever? And when is it wrong? And what are the reasons for it being wrong? The main reason I chose this philosopher to focus on is because throughout this work he implores us to open our minds and explore political philosophy but he reminds us that even though we are opening our minds to see the bigger picture it does not mean we have to lose our convictions. Other philosophers I chose to look at are Castell and his work on resistance and identity, Habermas’s philosophy at the time of terror and Baudrillard and his fatalist theory,

Categories
2008 Abstracts Stage 2

The Industrialisation of the Music Industry – Money vs Music

In this project I am looking to investigate the effects of capitalism on the music industry and more specifically the dominance of major record labels over independent. • One of the major influences for this project is the rise of television programmes such as the X Factor and Pop Idol and their effect on the world of music. These programmes seem to concentrate more on how much money they make rather than what the producers say they aim to do, which is to find musical talent. • By looking primarily in Marx and Fukuyama, I want to develop the idea of capitalism and the division of labour through Weber and Durkheim. • Finally I hope to bring both Music and Philosophy together by looking at Keith Negus and Simon Frith who have both looked at the idea of capitalism in music in an attempt to conclude once and for all whether or not capitalism truly has had a negative effect on the quality and production of music.