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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the paradox between an authored narrative and player choice responsible for the illusion of internal justification in video games? A look into narrative and player agency, given the circumstances of the relationship between ‘winnable’ video games and the identity we attribute to ourselves as players – with reference to Dennaton Games’ Hotline Miami.

I aim to explore the concept of how we act morally in videogames and what motivates us to do so. I chose to use this game, Hotline Miami, a top-down, two-dimensional pastiche of ultra-violence, stealth and surreal story-telling, played from a canvas of 80s synth subculture particularly notable in the soundtrack and visuals. It is a neo-noir crime drama blearily glimpsed through a psychedelic haze, which follows the nameless protagonist the player controls. It is comprised of numerous chapters, most of which begin with the nameless protagonist waking up in his apartment and being tasked to complete a certain amount of massacres against an unspecific criminal organization at the behest of your answering machine. As hallucinations and reality become increasingly impossible to differentiate, moments of lucidity where you are given the opportunity to reflect on your actions become disturbingly non-existent.

In my project, I want to investigate whether the concept of player choice holds any value and if a video game can provide the territory for a meaning philosophical investigation today. With the factor of responsibility and authored narrative surrounding us, are we able to resist and rationally control our enjoyment of a game wherein you are tasked with committing immoral acts? The philosophers I will use are: Paul Ricoeur and his mimetic narrative of culture and Slovaj Zizek and his views on personal identity in the artistic video gaming world.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

SELLING CHOICE: THE INSTITUTION OF MARKETING AND THE RATIONALE OF NEED

CONCEPTS FREEDOM, IDENTITY, AUTHENTICITY

A controversial attempt at defending an institution often deemed as exploitative, by considering the potentiality for change in marketing strategy due to the proliferation and availability of interpretative consumer choices within social media culture.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Political Agency; is conflict inevitable?

Aims of the project:
Explore whether human nature makes us fixate upon personal and political ideals. • Discuss the issue of political agency and how anonymity can aid it in postmodern culture.
• Use existentialism to assess if anxiety encourages the rise of conflict.
• Examine Islamic State and how they use anxiety and uncertainty as aids to their recruitment process.
• Finally try to assess whether conflict is inevitable in postmodern culture.
“To resent is already to go beyond, to move toward the possibility of an objective transformation.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
“The most that force can achieve is acquiescence and outer conformity.” – Bernard Williams
“Throughout the ages people have wanted to ‘improve’ humanity.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

A Study into the Negative Representation of Gastronomy within Philosophy and Further Looking to How this is an Outdated View in Modern Society

Within this project I plan to show how gastronomy has been negatively represented in the philosophical world and how this way of thinking no longer is true and reflective of the trends found within modern society. I shall be using a range of philosopher to show how modes of thought which claim gastronomic experience to be unworthy of aesthetic response are no longer valid to implement.

Key words
Gastronomy: the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food
Michelin Star: a hallmark of fine dining quality in restaurants across the world. A restaurant may receive one, two, or three stars, representing very good, exceptional, or exquisite cuisine, respectively.

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophers Used

Plato and Gastronomy
Plato held that anything to do with the stomach must be shunned. He claimed that the stomach could only be governed by passion and appetite and hence it was not virtuous to take pleasure from food. Essentially for Plato, ‘food and drink merely reeked of the transient, inadequate, inferior material world of the senses, bodily pleasures and humdrum non philosophical activities.’ (Allhoff and Monroe: 2007, 24)

Kant and Gastronomy
Kant provided the main attack against the value of gastronomy and it is this view which remains prevalent in the philosophical world. Kant maintains that food cannot provide an aesthetic experience in the same way as a piece of art would since he claims food can only provide an immediate response which can only ever be agreeable or disagreeable. Furthermore he claims our relationship with food can never be disinterested (a characteristic he states to be necessary of aesthetic experience) since the consumption of food is an innate animalistic desire.

Brillat-Savarin and Gastronomy
Brillat-Savain claims that food is able to provide aesthetic experience and he lays out his argument in his work, The Physiology of Taste. He claims that tasting and appreciating food is a complex endeavour which takes both time and reflective judgement. He formulated the sequence of ingestion which shows how this occurs. The three stages of sensation he identifies are namely; direct, complete and reflective. Brillat-Savarin also infers that the pleasure deduced from enjoyment of gastronomy is the most divine of them all.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the law economically or ethically routed? A study into Modern and Ancient Mesopotamian Laws

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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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Assessing Rights in their Contemporary ‘Digital Age’, fitting old standard into their new medium: An investigation into the need for re-evaluation of rights in their contemporary age through the exploration of Free Speech on the internet

Central Thesis:
We have entered a ‘Digital Age’ new and peculiar to us and as such our basic system of rights needs to be updated to accommodate for this new age. The investigation into free speech on the internet provides compelling insight into this claim, with free speech doctrine not only being proved ineffective and outdated on the online medium but actually, I will argue, free speech is in danger.

“The world will not stand still and let us enjoy our freedoms. It will continually make itself anew, and as it does, we must consider the ever new methods by which it may be augmented or curtailed” Balkin (2001)

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

To Commodify or Not to Commodify? That is NOT the Question

An investigation into the reciprocal roles of power and language in determining a fair agreement in “commodified sexuality”.

Aims
Is ‘commodified sexuality’ an accurate description of modern day prostitution? To discuss whether the implications of ‘objectification’ are metaphysically possible when one sells their sexual services for a price To analyse the power strategies present within sex work from environment to language Determine which effect of power is the most dangerous to the sex worker.

Project Outline
Identify confusions within the terms of commodity and commodification Emphasize that sex work involves labour, not the mere ‘selling of one’s body’ Identify a separation of a sex worker’s sexuality occurs through use of Karl Marx’s alienation Stress the limits of consent using Immanuel Kant Argue that the most powerful power structure is utilised without conscious thought: language

Philosophers & Key Texts
Martha Nussbaum: Sex & Social Justice (1999)
Sexual Objectification

Karl Marx: Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1843-44, Vol. 3 (2005) & Capital (1961)
Alienated Labour

Immanuel Kant: Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (2007)
Autonomy
Categorical Imperative
Sexual Contract of Marriage

Jürgen Habermas: The Theory of Communicative Action (1981)
Ideal Speech Arrangement

Categories
2015 Abstracts Stage 3

4G Selves: The Impact of Smartphones on the Human condition

My Fundamental claims:
1. Smartphone use damages the individual’s ability to retain memories.
2. Smartphone use damages social capital, a feature of society essential for the development of individuals rights.
3. Smartphone culture is fundamentally changing the way in which we view our human identity, from a complex narrative interpretation to mere information on a screen.

Key Philosopher used to support my claims:
1. Plato
2. Taylor, Nozick
3. Lyotard

Within postmodern society the prevalence of the Smartphone is explicitly clear. One cannot avoid the fact that the Smartphone has become a fundamental aspect of our day-to-day lives. Within this essay I hope to shed light on the nature of this dependency, through the use of the above criticisms, with the intention of demonstrating the negative impact that it has upon the very nature of humanity, the human condition.

Categories
2015 Abstracts Stage 3

The Philosophy of Education: How can the educational philosophies of Plato, Rousseau and Dewy be used in improving the current state of the education system?

An analysis of the modern education system through the eyes of Dewey, Plato and Rousseau.

Can the principles of these three men found in Democracy and Education, Emile, and Republic respectively be used to make a profound difference in modern education?

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Authentic vs Inauthentic: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”; A recovery of the authentic meaning of learning

Aim/Territory:
A study of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of authenticity through the concept of care, in order to recover the idea of authenticity within education, and stamp out the institutionalised “they” understanding of education to produce non-conformist, original individuals.

John Dewey: providing an alternative philosophy of education, a pragmatic approach.

Ivan Illich, Noam Chomsky: contemporary philosophers of education, supporting the move away from institutionalised education.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Has the authenticity of Football been diluted due to the commodification of the game in our contemporary culture?

Fundamental claims:
The authenticity of Football has been diluted due to the commodification of the game in our contemporary culture. • The commodification of the game is a result of all imposing factors that serve to weaken the integrity of the game. • I have argued these imposing factors are: the effects of Mass Media, Fetishism of the game, and the reproducibility of the game.
Philosophers used to support my claims:
1. Marx 2. Adorno 3. Debord, Benjamin
Through exposing the make-up of our contemporary culture it is made possible to see how the game Football was never going to exist in the same nature as it did when it first originated. Our society has served to alter the existence of the game and how it functions. By integrating
Adorno and his theory of ‘Mass Media’ we will be able to see both the detrimental and beneficial effects that media has had on the game. I will also look at Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’, which will allow us to refute whether or not the game is merely a representation of itself. I believe Marx’s theory of ‘Commodity Fetishism’ and Benjamin’s theory on the ‘Reproducibility of the Work of Art in the Mechanical Age’ will make apparent the form of attachment a fan has to their club.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

As Time Goes By: An investigation into the relationship between music’s commodification, in the age of mass reproducibility, and its declining objective worth

Adorno – MUSIC is OBJECTIVE. Music was at its best in the Classical Period, due to its complexity and its projection as an art form. If you are to disagree with his opinion, it is because you cannot understand the music properly…

Capitalism commodified music, creating an environment of ‘pseudo-subjectivity’. As music began to be attached to pop stars as a commodity, the relevance of artistic talent was eradicated.

Benjamin + Vattimo – MUSIC is NOT SUBJECTIVE or OBJECTIVE.

The age of mass reproduction removed the objectivity of music by eliminating its ‘aura’. With no object, it is impossible for something to be subjective, as there is nothing to be subjective in relation to.

INSTEAD, our age’s MUSIC is INTERPRETIVE, meaning that there is no objective or subjective point of view, only our own interpretation, which is formed due to our historical origins and upbringing.

Categories
2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Mental Illness: Social Construct or Scientific Fact?

I am going to explore the differing perceptions, classifications and treatments of mental illness, in particular depression.

Key Themes

Personal: The sufferer’s explanation

Scientific: A biochemical explanation of the causes and symptoms, and consequent treatment using medicine

Holistic: Classification of a mental illness takes into account the patient’s experiences, cognition processes and learned behaviours, which therapy seeks to overcome

Social: The onlooker’s explanation and the stigma in society

Foucault: Modern psychiatry, although grounded in scientific truths, is primarily a system of moral judgements. Treatment of the mentally ill can be seen as society’s way of controlling what they deem to be immoral / undesirable.

Sartre: Man has the freedom to choose what their life is, however many of us live in bad faith by hiding from this freedom as it is accompanied by the responsibility to have meaning; man is condemned to be free.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

The Origin of the Work of Art: An Investigation Into the Relevance of Heidegger’s Thought in the Context of Modern Music.

This project will examine will investigate the philosophical concepts as demonstrated in “The Origin of the Work of Art”. The objective will be to show evidence of Heidegger’s thought in the context of modern music. The essay will involve a philosophical enquiry into modern music-society, using Foucault, Lyotard, Kant and Taylor to compare and contrast Heidegger’s opinion with others.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

What can Film Tell Us About What it Means to Exist?

What can we truly know of what it means to exist? The contemporary mode of scientific rational thought says nothing of the way one exists. The thought of Heidegger and Deleuze, however, does. Heidegger’s thought suggests that one may find truth through an authentic experience of art and attunement to the mood of anxiety. (Heidegger, 1993) Deleuze claims that we may create concepts that enable a coherent understanding of phenomena, such as time and space, with an appreciation of film. (Deleuze, 1997) This Project suggests that these ideas may be extrapolated through the films of Steve McQueen. McQueen’s directional techniques and their subject matter provide the perfect representation for this philosophical thought, as this project explores.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

THE SURREALISTS DREAM…  

A philosophical investigation into the monumental art and cultural changes at the beginning of the 20th Century – specifically focused on the art movement Surrealism and the philosophical theory of Walter Benjamin, juxtaposed with the thought of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
To what effect did Surrealism change the course of our culture and did it succeed in its ambition to eradicate art pour l’art ? Are we capable of appreciating art beyond the sphere of aesthetics? Why Surrealism is such a tremendous influence on artists today, and particularly in the medium of film? What cultural changes were occurring during this time that enabled the movement to flourish, and what were the lasting effects? Does Surrealist art allow for freer expression, and can this constitute fine art? Furthermore, is it the leading cause of our amalgamation of high and low cultures, and is this a good thing?
I will be evaluating these questions amongst many others in my final year project, looking specifically at the artists Giorgio de Chirico and Frida Kahlo.
 

Categories
2015 Abstracts Stage 3

The nature of the decentralised operating system within Bitcoin and its relation to the configurations of society

Providing an in-depth study into the operations taking place within Bitcoin and outlining the current and possible future effects it could have in changing the way in which the monetary system works. This project will involve the Philosophical implications it could have on changing the way in which society as a whole is understood to operate.