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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Can agents be considered accountable for their actions when following the orders of an authoritative figure?

This project discusses the impact of authority on moral responsibility, and whether the autonomy and free will of an agent is required in order to enforce responsibility and punishment.

While Nietzsche sceptically denounced the genealogy of morality as an institution which instils guilt and punishment, he relented to admit that despite its insufferable origins, morality is nevertheless invaluable in understanding cultures and ideologies. The doctrines of John Martin Fischer conversely maintained the position that an agent must necessarily be morally responsible for the actions they committed, even under circumstances wherein the agent may feel as though their judgement was clouded by the coercive force of an authoritative figure, which made it seem as though the actions were not the agent’s own.

Nevertheless, it has been recognised in case studies spanning over the last 100 years, such as The Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46, the 1963 Milgram Behavioural Study of Obedience and the 1971 Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment, that there is always an alternative possibility to the course of action taken by an agent, and that the action is always necessarily an agent’s own. In such case studies which discuss the impact of authority, other questions have been raised as to whether passivity in these examples is the true evil, or whether there lies within mankind an innate capacity for evil and sinister acts which inflict harm upon his fellow man.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

A Post-Modern Pilgrimage: Can any type of travel be meaningful in the same way pilgrimage is?

Is there any way in which non-religious forms of travel can be as meaningful as religion? My project aims to investigate concepts such as pleasure, disappearance, purpose and perspectivism to form a discourse for how we can talk of a post-modern pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage is an important part of any religion. Those with religious beliefs seek to connect with other’s who are similar to oneself and God, to help reinforce their sense of self and their place in the universe.

Baudrillard believes disappearance is symbolic as well as physical. The absence from our normal life is crucial for personal development, as our mind needs a break to recuperate.

Sartre believes ‘existence precedes essence,’ meaning that we are not born with a purpose. Instead, we are to decide our own purpose and our own meaning for life. This can be found through travelling. We move away from the everyday life and the familiarity and we experience new objects and many unfamiliar and difficult challenges, we learn more about ourselves and so we reflect on our own meaning of life.

Mill discusses the quality of pleasures in his views of utilitarianism. The highest pleasures are the most valuable, those which exercise the mind.
When travelling, we may feel curious to learn more about the country we are in. Gaining knowledge of the world through experiencing this country’s culture directly, satisfies the human mind, as the understanding of the world can shape our ideas of the world.

All three philosophers can apply to De Botton’s views on perspectivism, which is that we begin to look at the world in a different way, by focusing and appreciating the small things. This brings in all concepts of pleasure, absence and purpose, which is demonstrated throughout this project.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

The failures of cosmopolitanism and international intervention in genocide

In this project I investigate why the present institutions and discourse of cosmopolitics frustrate rather than facilitate peace and resolution.

Through improperly structuring reasoning and creating subjectivity, the current cosmopolitic fails to provide the required conditions for the prevention of and intervention in genocide.

Through an examination of Kant’s cosmopolitanism and current cosmopolitical theories, demonstrated with the use of 3 case studies of Rwanda, Kosovo, and Myanmar I intend to highlight the fundamental contradiction at the heart of cosmopolitanism. Systems are either too universal and empty, ignoring important cultural fabric, or too particular and local, resulting in inaction.

As a result of these failures, intervention becomes an expression of ideology, not humanitarian interest.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Between Emancipation and Control: A critical discussion of social media in postmodern

Between Emancipation and Control: A Critical Discussion of Social Media in Postmodern Society

Is social media the key to emancipation, or the handcuffs prohibiting liberation? This project started from the object of social media and the claim that, as society has become highly mechanised, it is a further perpetuation of control and the very medium, which keeps individual behaviour in accordance with what is deemed socially acceptable. This project aimed to investigate this claim, using the case of Cambridge Analytica, to reach a conclusion to the overriding question: CAN SOCIAL MEDIA EMANCIPATE?

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

When NO means NO

Rape Culture: “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalising or trivialising sexual assault and abuse.”
Consent: “someone agrees, gives permission, or says “yes” to sexual activity with other persons. Consent is always freely given and all people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say “yes” or “no” or stop the sexual activity at any point.”

Preliminary Questionnaire
 25 male students and 25 female students were asked to take part in a questionnaire about rape culture and what constitutes consent
 example: students were asked whether they thought women were sexually objectified – of the 25 females asked, they all said yes, and, in contrast, all 25 males said no
 questions also asked about the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in conjunction with sexual acts – whether an individual can consent to sex or not when under the influence

Case Studies
 3 cases used: Brock Turner, Judy Garland & Melanie Martinez
 all case studies had things in common but applied to the 3 thematic links of power, gender, freedom and agency

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation into the Meat Industry and its Impact on the Environment

Territory: Environmental Ethics
Object: The impact of the Meat Industry on the Environment

Philosophers/Key Thinkers:
James Lovelock; Mary Midgley; Arne Naess; Anthony Weston; Jonathan Safran Foer

The aim of this project is to discover the impact the meat industry has on the environment and to question whether vegetarianism could help minimise Global Warming. To do this, the Hermeneutic and historical approaches will be used.

Throughout this project two main questions will be explored: What is the main contributor to our carbon footprint? and Is environmentalism justified?

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

An Exploration of Female Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex. Does it make you uncomfortable? In this project, I explore the progression of attitudes towards sexuality through the different generations, where these attitudes came from, and how these attitudes developed.

Through George Bataille’s book, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, I explore where the taboo of sex may have begun and what impact this had upon attitudes towards embracing female sexuality. I also use Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Philosophy of Right to discuss the issues surrounding freedom of sexuality.

Through conducting my own research and analysing various books, articles and journals, I will reveal how our society is embracing the conversation surrounding sexuality.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Melissa Walker’s Masks: The History of Soldier’s PTSD and its Societal Depiction

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
PTSD is associated with impairments in everyday attention and memory
PTSD is associated with enhanced acquisition of conditioned fears
(S. Taylor, 2017, p. 45)

Panic disorder, and alcohol and substance abuse frequently emerge in conjunction with PTSD and that is not isolated to treatment-seeking populations
(Wilson Friedman & Lindy, 2004, p. 237)

Priory Survey of 1,000 men:
77% said that they suffered from anxiety, stress or depression
40% said that they would only seek help if it got as bad as thoughts of suicide
(Priory Group, Survey: 2004)

I don’t think we are doing enough for our veterans. Their care should be a government priority, and it should not be left to charities like Help For Heroes to subsidise the cost.
(Gregg, 2015)

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Are humans destined to conform to evil?

Philip Zimbardo and the Stanford Prison Experiment

Participants were assigned either the role of guard or prisoner in a prion simulation designed to investigate the behavioural and psychological effects of prison life. From that moment they were treated according to their role and the study commenced. Rebellion, excessive punishment and a mass escape plot.

The findings showed that the guards and prisoners conformed wholly to their assigned role to the point where role and reality were blurred. The participants had lost all sense of reality . Why did this happen? Does it say something about an inherent human nature to conform?

Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil: Arendt claims that evil can occur when someone simply follows orders to the point that they no longer have their own thought process. They become a cog in a well oiled machine. She basis this theory on the trial of the Nazi, Adolf Eichmann, who she claims was not an inherently evil man but someone who “simply followed orders”. What does this mean for moral culpability? Does this change our understanding of human nature?

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

From Selfie to Surgery: The Impact of Technology on Human Self-Worth

An investigation into the ways that technology is used as a method of creating insecurities with the self, leading to cosmetic surgery and the sustainability of capitalism.

My aim of this investigation is to explore the effects of technological apps such as Snapchat and Instagram on self-esteem and confidence. Also to investigate how far there is a link between beautifying apps and the cosmetic surgery industry, in a 21st century society where the conception of beauty is given great importance.

In this investigation, I conduct a survey to understand the effects of technology. I ask questions regarding frequency of usage, confidence levels after usage and pressure in society surrounding beauty.

Philosophical Concept 1: Adorno and the Culture Industry
Philosophical Concept 2: Freud and ‘Civilisation and its Discontents’

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Toxic Masculinity In Young Males: A Possible Explanation Through Hobbes and Lacan?

This project is centered around the idea of toxic masculinity, and attempting to understand the prevalence of it in young males with reference to the philosophical and psychoanalytical ideas of Hobbes and Lacan.

-Toxic masculinity is the exhibition of certain antisocial behavioural tendencies predominantly performed by young males, including, homophobia, misogyny and violent physical or verbal behavior to one another. This behavior is rampant throughout society, with the behaviour of young males being especially indicative of this toxic way of acting. Lad culture has become simply sexism with and alibi. To show the existence of toxic masculinity within young males I researched different journal and website articles detailing examples, as well as conducting an interview with a female Newcstle university student. I will also be looking through the primary texts and identifying at what points their ideas contribute to the discussion. These texts are Hobbes Leviathan and Lacan’s Ecrits.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Free Internet Pornography and The Under Eighteens

An investigation into how ideologies within Ancient Greek philosophy may pre-empt the impact of negative influences within free online pornography on the large number of under eighteens who regularly consume it.

The aim in engaging with the material I have chosen it two fold. Firstly, I intended to further my understanding of pornography within my society and not only that but to further expand upon my own understanding of the philosophies proposed by Plato and Aristotle. Secondly, I intended to better my ability in applying philosophical concepts and attempting to find solutions to real world issues.

The object of this project is free online pornography and the messages and attitudes that are resembled within in. The issues raised by pornography is the masculine ideology portrayed in the videos that the younger consumers are likely to adopt themselves. I will be looking for solutions to this problem within Plato’s idea of a good education and Aristotle’s idea of virtue.

I will make direct references to Plato’s The Republic, Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics, and finally, Robert Jenson’s Getting Off: pornography and the end of masculinity.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

The Shift Of Equality and Power for Men and Women, within the United Kingdom overtime.

Object:
The difference in equality and power between men and women.

Territory:
Early 20th century to modern day.

Concepts:
Thomas Hobbes- Leviathan
Jeremy Bentham- Utilitarianism
Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex

The object of this project is to produce an accurate analysis and an understanding of the shift of equality and power for men and women in the UK, showing how the status of a woman and a man has changed overtime from the early 1900s to modern day. It will focus on Thomas Hobbes’ theory on power being the deepest drive, thus this will explore why men are deemed to have the most power in society. Jeremey Bentham’s theory on Utilitarianism gives the statement ‘The greatest good of the greatest number’ therefore this will focus on those who are in the majority do actions that are in their favour. Also a look at Simone De Beauvoir’s analysis on the ‘Second Sex’ will suggest how civilisation has constructed the woman. Consequently this project will offer possible reasons as to why the status between men and women have been so different overtime.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Can We Own a Vibe? A Philosophical Inquiry into Our Understanding of Music Copyright.

This project aims to look at the concept of private property within the context of copyright. I will investigate current copyright law in the case of music and examples of copyright infringement. Through these cases, I will question the grounds on which they have been ruled guilty of copyright infringement. With Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (2013) being ruled as infringing the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up’ (1977) due to copying the vibe of this song. With the idea of a vibe having not been previously protected by copyright, this challenges our previous understanding of the copyright of music and what it means to own musical property.

I will also discuss the implications copyright has upon the possibility of creativity within the music industry. Copyright law is in place to protect the original creative works of an individual and therefore protecting creativity as a whole. Through questioning whether copyright helps of hinders creativity in music, I will discuss whether copyright does protect creativity as it sets out to do so.

My project aims to question how appropriate the concepts grounding our copyright of music are and call into question whether we need to revise our music copyright system.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Journalism, Ethics and Brexit: An Exploration into our Democratic Abilities in a Post-Truth Age

Project Outline

-This project was undertaken to determine whether the Brexit vote was a result of unethical journalism and whether we can remain democratic in today’s society.

-In order to be democratic citizens, the population needs to be correctly informed from factual evidence and I believe that throughout the Brexit referendum this was not the case.

-This project looks at journalism within the context of the free market to highlight the issues journalists face when companies prioritise money over the truth.

-This project will also use the ideas of Baudrillard to determine the nature of truth in the 21st century and how the phenomena of fake news found its way into Brexit.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Data-Mining

What is data-mining?
In the case of Cambridge Analytica, data-mining is extracting data from people’s social media accounts to gather information on them.

What is micro-targeting
Micro-targeting is using data and information gathered on people to identify their interests and beliefs and then use this to try influence them, in this case their political decisions.

Cambridge Analytica
Cambridge Analytica is a data analytics company founded in 2014. They manipulated Facebook in order to access millions of people’s personal details and information and used it to influence elections.

Democracy in the age of technology: a philosophical enquiry exploring the effect data-mining and micro-targeting has on a democratic government.
Philosophy used to explain this: Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and Rousseau’s Social Contract.

Categories
2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Tolerance over time: ‘If we knew nothing about where we’d end up what sort of society would it feel safe to enter?’

‘If we knew nothing about where we’d end up what sort of society would it feel safe to enter?’

Aims:
How does secularisation affect the religion?
Why Britain become more secular?
How does the rise of terror by Islamic extremists affect the Islamic community?
What is the purpose of the EDL and why is it so against the Muslim community?
How has the role of the woman changed throughout modernity?
Why do measures still exist that prevent women from achieving equality?

Methods:
I intend to explore Rawls’ view of tolerance by using various approaches; these include: a Historical Approach and an Axiological Approach. The Historical Approach has been chosen as a means of depicting to the reader the changes and transformations in both the role of the woman in society, as well as the role religion plays in a seemingly secular society. As a result, I will trace the historical, social and political changes affecting both issues at hand. Furthermore, an Axiological Approach will be used to assess whether there are challenges that both religion and women have faced is just throughout contemporary society.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

The Case for Drag: Exploring drag performance and culture through the work of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Given the rapid rise of drag performance in pop culture, it is now one of the most popular and varied forms of entertainment. But isn’t seeing drag performance and culture as nothing more than a source of amusement, to obfuscate swathes of its political, emotional and metaphysical potential? How might we do drag justice? How might we unlock this potential? The answer lies in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, an engagement with whom, will help us see the potential drag offers.Early Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy helps us understand drag’s potential in revealing a harsh reality, and in making it possible to bear by transfiguring suffering into beauty. Middle-period Nietzsche: Nietzsche sews the seeds for the ideas which develop in his mature work. Mature Nietzsche: Nietzsche’s critique of the Kantian subject helps us understand how drag pulls us towards a less anxious, less restricted and more emancipated subjectivity. Thus Nietzsche helps us appreciate drag as more than a piece of entertainment, as offering us a more tolerable and healthier way of being in the world.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the Queen, as portrayed and understood by the Netflix production ‘The Crown’, truly treated as an Other?

The Queen is not truly recognised by us for the work she does, but by the title she holds. Do we treat her as we should treat another human being, or do we treat her as if she is just her title?

The philosophy of Sartre and Levinas will be used as they both put forward a theory of the Other. We have an effect on the others freedom for both philosophers.

For Levinas, it is getting away from Heidegger’s view that we encounter everything with its use value. We have a relationship and a responsibility over the Other.

For Sartre, is the Queen acting in Bad Faith? Rather than recognising herself beyond her duty.

So, does the Queen restrict herself from becoming an Other, or do we restrict the Queen from being treated as an Other truly should be?

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Money: A Social Network Ontology, Complimented by the Abstraction of Theoretical Monetary Units Throughout Time.

This project argues for Georg Simmel’s Sociological account of money through two means:

Firstly, its ability to explain changes in monetary theory through time.
Secondly, the fact it can explain a nuanced human economic agent in a social network.

Money in a Simmelite Social Network:

My project explored the account of the human subject in Simmel’s The Philosophy of Money and applied this to the network theory from Dodd’s The Sociology of Money. Thus, the essay was able to create and analyse a framework that could both argue for the creation of money through a tool of desiring subjects, and how this interacts with society at large through a societal network.

Changing Monetary Theory Through Time:
This project explores the history of economic philosophy from the enlightenment onwards through four defined periods.

Smith and Classical Economics – Using An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations I was able to explore monetary theory that is reliant upon substance, and the ways Smith’s economic theory often ends up with a reductionist view of human agency.

Friedman and Neo-Classical Economics – Using Capitalism and Freedom I explored monetary theory and the belief that money is simply an economic lubricant, while also contesting the fact that Friedman truly believes in the imperfect being.

Post-Modern Economics – Using Lazzarato, and his influences, I was able to analyse the idea that digitised economics represent power and the desire of the subjects in this network as the creation of this power.

Bitcoin and the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute – This conception of money is a commodity guided by the rules of blockchain, however Bitcoin itself is only substantiated by ideological belief of a small number of active traders.

Throughout this project I argue that the Framework of the Simmelite Social Network can not only explain the beliefs of these four types of theory through time, but also why the path of history towards further abstraction has occurred.