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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

The Wolf of Wall Street

Project Aims:
•To distinguish the moral issues within the life story of Jordan Belfort and explore whether the initial presumption that he is solely to blame for such actions is completely accurate.
•Can philosophers such as Nietzsche explain such actions through their own reasoning and logic about how people operate?
•Can a true objective answer be found for such moral dilemmas or is it too subjective to conclude with one judgement?
•Assessing the overlooked factors that aren’t so apparent when first understanding Belfort’s past.

Philosophy:
•Apollonian vs. Dionysian: Nietzsche’s division between the two realms of approaching the world. A good combination of both will help you lead a sustained lifestyle, whereas if you fall too deep into either you risk becoming ‘too boring’ or ‘out of control’. Throughout the study of Belfort’s life this concept is very applicable because he certainly experiences the description of both realms and consequentially allows the Dionysian to be the downfall of his reign.

•Cultural Relativism and how it can help people to understand the differences between certain environments and how such external influences play a vital role when making such moral judgements.

•Immanuel Kant’s absolute laws on ethics. On principles such as: “Do not use people as a means to an end” he would not condone Belfort’s actions.

•Friedrich Nietzsche’s study into Epistemology and how the process of receiving and using knowledge infringes our own free will.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Life Goals: a Look at Philosophical Influences with a Special Interest in Nietzsche’s and Kierkegaard’s Thought

Concept: the concept I decided to explore within this project is that of life goals. I chose to look into this area as it is a notion that affects all of us within our modern day lives. It is an interesting concept as it is extremely dynamic in nature, however within the project I look closely at the idea of wealth in regards to life goals and how this contrasts with philosophical thought.

Territories: the main two philosophers I used for my territories were Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. I chose them because each offer a lot of work and thought indicating on how they believe one should shape their life. Nietzsche is very interested in educating man that he must overcome himself and religion in order to reach his full potential. I have explored the idea that man needs to overthrow his dependency on money in the same way that Nietzsche declared that man needed to overthrow relying on God and religion. The main aspect of Kierkegaard’s work that I used was that of the three spheres of existence to which I applied in how each sphere would shape our life goals.

Research methods: I used a range of research methods within this project in the aim of producing an interesting and in depth project. These range from the use of surveys, internet sources, books and my own personal thought.

Examples of questions I explore within this project: Why should one really want to leave the aesthetic sphere as it arguably is the sphere of existence which provides most pleasure. Is an aim into entering the religious sphere really applicable in our ever growing society. Is man capable of overcoming oneself? How should people choose to shape their lives?

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Is the Existence of Public Schools Justified?

I investigate the notion that the existence of public schools in the UK is not justified, as they are linked with social immobility – if they are a cause of social immobility, perhaps there are grounds to abolish the public school system.

Is it the right of an individual to own a disproportionate amount of private property? Should that be any different to purchasing a public school education?

I consider the opinions of Nozick, Rawls, Locke and Hegel, as I inspect whether a public school education is a piece of private property.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

Can Postmodernist Picturebooks be Considered to be An Example of Deleuze and Guattari’s Concept of Minor Literature?

Minor Literature is that which completes three tasks: the continual deterritorialisation of major literature, the enablance of collective enunciation and the instating of non-hierarchal relationships between signifiers and the signified. This project considers whether postmodern picturebooks complete these tasks.

The term, ‘postmodernist picturebooks’ refers to a series of books co-published in Britain and America between 1994 and 2004. All of these books make use of metafictive references and narrative gaps.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Kant the Interpretation of Andrei Tarkovsky

Objectives: To investigate the degree to which the law is both economically and ethically constituted – To compare and contrast Ancient Mesopotamian law with our own.
Territory: Modern EU law – The Code of Hammurabi (1754 BC) – Ancient Babylon – The Code of Ur-Nammu (2100 BC) – Ancient Sumer ‘ The German Ideology ’ – Marx ‘ Elements of the Philosophy of Right ’ – Hegel

Structure: I will begin by first describing both the Code of Hammurabi and the Code of UrNammu, subsequently contrasting them with Modern law. After this, Marx will be used to argue that the law is economically routed, whilst Hegel to state that it is ethical and has progressed over time. Finally there will be an analysis of the changes made in modern day law, to exhibit the shift away from the financial ‘burdens’ of ethics, in the era of late Capitalism.

“Political Economy regards the proletarian … like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being.” – Karl Marx, 1844

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

The Priest and the King: an examination of the Iranian Revolution using the outlook of Foucault to analyse the causes, course of events and outcomes.

‘As an “Islamic” movement, it can set the entire region afire, overturn the most unstable regimes, and disturb the most solid. Islam – which is not simply a religion, but an entire way of life, and adherence to a history and a civilisation – has a good chance to become a giant powder keg, at the level of hundreds of millions of men.’ Foucault predicted that the revolution in Iran would not follow the model of other modern revolutions, writing that it was instead organised around a greatly different concept which he called ‘political spirituality’. He acknowledged the huge power of the new discourse of militant Islam for the world, not just Iran. Foucault indicated that the new Islamist movement pointed at a fundamental cultural, political and social break with the modern Western order, such a discourse would amend the ‘global strategic equilibrium’. – Foucault

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Quest for Truth: Is Propaganda the New Empiricism?

Throughout each period of history information has been controlled by a select few elite. From Alexander the Great to Martin Luther to the modern complex of mass media that provides us with information today. This project seeks to explain the way in which information has been controlled from one society to another with the advent of new technologies only perpetuating the problem. If Philosophy is a search for truth, then propaganda is the opposite of philosophy, it is the concealing of truth. Do we just accept what we are told or can we use philosophy to overcome propaganda?

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Personhood. Persons, bodies and: exploring the relationships between historical concepts of personhood and prescriptions in medical ethics.

My objective in this essay is two part. Firstly I aim to produce a well-rounded account of the differing approaches to defining personhood, assess their shortcomings and highlight the relationship between personhood and rights. The second part of the essay will be an application of this notion of personhood and the subsequent theory of rights to the sphere of medical ethics, using abortion to demonstrate the important role the notion of personhood plays in medical ethical issues as well as highlighting its limitations.

FIRST I will establish the context of personhood by assessing first the Religious approaches to personhood. Next the Philosophical approach, using the philosophies of Aquinas, Descartes and Locke on personhood. And last the approach of science. All will be viewed in the context of history and how definitions change across history and across culture.

Secondly I will emphasise the undeniable link between concepts of Personhood and the effects it has on human rights. And use Peter Singer to demonstrate issues with a hierarchy of rights.

Lastly I will apply notions of personhood, and the subsequent theory of rights, to the abortion debate in order to demonstrate the impact of personhood in medical ethics. I will then use the works of Judith Thompson and discussions on social influences to highlight the extent of the role that personhood actually plays in medical ethical issues.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

The Double

This project aims to argue that the doppelganger in cinema represents a fear in society. The project will aim to chart the change in this fear. Deleuze’s work offers a psychoanalytical perspective on this whereas Giddens and Beck look at modernity more generally. Science fiction cinema is a cinematic cousin of the double film and works in a similarly reflexive manner. As film projection is digitized so is our society, meaning that we both rely on and resent technology. So is the prevalence of double films in 2014 related to our increasingly strong links to machines?

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

The Power of Solitude. A critical analysis of solitude as a stimulant for creativity.

The objective of this essay is to produce an accurate analysis of our understanding of solitude, artistic creativity and its origins, and to examine whether solitude can be an aid to maximising creativity.

To reach an appropriate conclusion, it will first address the nature of creativity from Plato, Kant, Freud and from various modern thinkers.

It will then address theories on solitude from Thoreau, Artistotle, Descartes and Koch, followed by an analysis of the extent to which it can stimulate artistic creativity. I also see it necessary to briefly examine the role of technology in today’s society and the use of drugs to see how these two factors can influence solitude and creativity.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

How Can We Learn from the Holocaust? A critical evaluation of the pedagogic value of responses to the Holocaust and art in law.

Artistic responses:

Adorno: didactic art and mass culture. Holocaust art has the ability to misrepresent victims’ experiences, undermining the pedagogic value of art. Mass culture threatens society’s understanding of the Holocaust by dictating standardized moral messages to its audience.

Schindler’s List is an example of Holocaust art that is not appropriate for education because it dictates a moral message through in scenes of gratuitous violence.

Maus consistently reminds the reader of the dangers of misrepresentation in Holocaust art and does not dictate a message, allowing readers to critically engage with the subject matter and form their own opinions. It is educational without being didactic.

Legal responses:

Holocaust denial: Irving v. Lipstadt set the precedent for how liberal societies can maintain their commitment to free speech whilst protecting the collective memory of the Holocaust from deniers.

Who’s accountable? Society must accept that strategic reasoning pioneered by modernity contributed to the implementation of the Final Solution, rather than assigning Germany sole accountability.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann highlights that individuals have a duty to humanity above the need to follow the orders of their government.Artistic responses:

Adorno: didactic art and mass culture. Holocaust art has the ability to misrepresent victims’ experiences, undermining the pedagogic value of art. Mass culture threatens society’s understanding of the Holocaust by dictating standardized moral messages to its audience.

Schindler’s List is an example of Holocaust art that is not appropriate for education because it dictates a moral message through in scenes of gratuitous violence.

Maus consistently reminds the reader of the dangers of misrepresentation in Holocaust art and does not dictate a message, allowing readers to critically engage with the subject matter and form their own opinions. It is educational without being didactic.

Legal responses:

Holocaust denial: Irving v. Lipstadt set the precedent for how liberal societies can maintain their commitment to free speech whilst protecting the collective memory of the Holocaust from deniers.

Who’s accountable? Society must accept that strategic reasoning pioneered by modernity contributed to the implementation of the Final Solution, rather than assigning Germany sole accountability.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann highlights that individuals have a duty to humanity above the need to follow the orders of their government.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

The Phenomenology of Mental Disorder: the Subjective Experience of Scizophrenia

Phenomenology urges closer scrutiny of our experiences. A phenomenological approach to mental disorder concerns an acute study the patient’s experience; its conditions and its structure. My objective is to gain insight into the refined and perplexed experiences of the Schizophrenic mind. Philosophy has traditionally been concerned with issues of subjectivity and the first-person. In order to facilitate a dialogue between philosophy and psychopathology I will be referencing specialists in the field such as Dan Zahavi, Karl Jaspers and Christopher Frith.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

Can We Ever Truly Escape Our Past Or Is it a Precondition for Selfhood?

The concept of past is intimately connected to our perceptions of identity and the question of whether we can ever escape this often intrusive and suffocating hold on our person is central to my thesis of whether or not the past of an individual defines who they are and who they will become.

Object: Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby will be applied to both psychology and philosophy.

Beginning with Psychology, specifically the work of Sigmund Freud to show how our identity is determined.

Turning to philosophy with Jean Paul Sartre, exploring his views on freedom which oppose those of Freud.

Finally Friedrich Nietzsche’s work on ‘becoming’ and ‘overcoming’, discussing the ability to overcome our pasts and celebrate them.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

“Downloading an album illegally is the same as taking an album out of the shop without paying” (Recording Industry Association of America). Is this a fair analogy of illegal file-sharing?

Aims:
Can we connect first basis principles to a legitimate claim to ownership?
To discuss what it means to ‘own’ a media file by an investigation into the artist’s labour and personality
If ‘file-sharing’ isn’t stealing off the original artist, who is it stealing off?
Do record labels successfully represent the artist’s intentions?

Project Outline
Distinguishing Features of Stealing and Copying
Which claim to property is most effective: Locke’s labour-mixing or Hegel’s embodiment of personality
The only claim to private property that is effective is Nozick’s entitlement to capital

Philosophers & Key Texts Used:
John Locke: Second Treatise of Government (1689)
Natural Right to Property
‘Labour-mixing argument’

Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State & Utopia (1974)
Entitlement Theory

David Hume: A Treatise Concerning Human Nature (1738)
Artificiality of Property

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Philosophy of Right (1820)
Embodiment of Personality

Karl Marx: The German Ideology (1845)
Critique of Capitalist values

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Existential Authenticity: A Look at Authenticity in the Life and Work of Nick Drake

Despite Drake’s lack of commercial success during his lifetime, he produced music that today is recognised as some of the most influential in its genre.

By providing a look at his life, work and personality, I will try to show that Drake demonstrates qualities of Sartrean authenticity.

The essay will consist of a struggle in which I try to identify ‘positive’ characteristics of authenticity, e.g. “originality”, “disregard for external pressure” etc.

I will go on to adapt an existential approach in order to define authenticity “negatively”, or what authenticity is not.

I will try to pin down what exactly we mean when we say, “this music is authentic” by taking a closer look at Drake’s musical technique. I will contrast his music, which is eloquent and understated, with music that one might consider manufactured or “inauthentic”, such as the Spice Girls’ discography.

It will be shown that, through the enigma of Drake’s lyrics, musical compositions and personality, that existentialism shaped his perspective and possibly lead to his untimely death.

I will conclude, with help from Peterson’s “Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity”, that ‘authenticity’ is illusory; the Spice Girls and Nick Drake have the same authentic value because authenticity is not objective, rather it is a “socially agreed-upon construct”.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Is Proportionality Disproportionate in Our Consideration of Other Nations’ Actions?

This project aims to explore the disparity between a fully-functioning international model of Hegemonic Stability and the reluctance to intervene in a country so belonging on the ash heap of history as North Korea.

By the end of this project I hope to have fully elucidated the current geopolitical state of affairs with regards to the censoring of information traffic and the contemporary misuse of a benevolent world leadership. In order to fully construct or reject the argument for intervention in the Korean Peninsula, I shall be referring to Hobbes ‘, Hegel’s Sittlichkeit and the State and Kant’s Perpetual Peace Essays.

Furthermore, in order to fully understand the political weight of such allegations, the Bush administrations’ actions in 2002 will be critically assessed, in light of present day hindsight.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Can Claims to Property Ground Territorial Expansion?

Aim: To investigate whether claims to property can legitimise territorial expansion.

Case study: Throughout the essay I will focus upon he colonisation of America, with the aim of concluding whether the desire for land, held by the colonial power, could be used to legitimise the events that took place.

Philosophers: Locke, Nozick, Hobbes, Hegel, Radin, Grotius

Objectives:
– To investigate the concept of property amongst native Americans.
– To assess whether the European powers had any legitimate claim to the land.
– Can the colonial power’s desire for property ever legitimise the events that took place?

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Stanley Kubrick: Rapture and the Ubermensch

2001: A Space Odyssey is a film many find hard to properly understand. I aim to present an account of 2001 that enables easier comprehension of this cinematic feature through philosophical themes.

In 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick exhibits on rapture and the Ubermensch. I will, in my project, present how Kubrick uses colour, sound and cinematography to evoke feelings of rapture.

Focusing on the character Dave Bowman, I reveal how rapture and the overcoming of computers enable humans to delve into the next stage of Ubermensch.

The project contains breakdowns of the most important scenes of the film in relation to the works of Nietzsche. Including mans overcoming of computers, and the transcendence of humanity.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophy in the Boudoir. The taboo of sex: an evaluation of the significance of sexual discourse in society

Why has society repressed sexual discourse and what does this mean for an individual?

Foucault and Beauvoir explore the historical repression of sexuality and the classifications of the Enlightenment and scientific discourse. Individuals have not been able to express their sexuality publicly, as discourse of the erotic was under taboo.

How can we liberate society from the consequences of sexual repression?

Marquis de Sade asserted the importance of sexual liberation to combat all social repressions. His pornographic works, despite being violent and cruel, are fundamentally pivotal in the emancipation of sexuality from the private realm.

What was the result of the sexual revolution for sexual emancipation?

The 1960s sexual revolution is said to have begun with the publishing of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and had a major impact on sexual liberation, specifically for women, as prohibitions on discourse were protested.

What impact does the culture industry have on sexual liberty?

Adorno’s writings on mass consumerism in our capitalist society explore the limits of sexual liberty as in the public realm as they begin to cater only to the needs and desires of our consumer society

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2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Relationship between Art, Politics and Architecture in a ‘Post-Political World’

With reference to:
 Rancière’s metapolitical framing of architecture and the reconstruction of Brodsky

The intention of this project is to outline three independent topics concerning: (1) Rancière’s ‘metapolitical’ framing of architecture, (2) Alexander Brodsky and Illya Utkin’s ‘Paper Architecture’, and (3) Ralph Erskine’s ‘democratic’ architecture, with the aim of analysing and assessing the question as to whether there is room for a political enquiry into the philosophy of architecture in a ‘post-political’ world.