2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Song is Existence

The first part of my project was to prove that accepting a scientific and medical approach to mental illness was wrong. I used Jean-Paul Sartre’s account of bad faith, in which the human being freely gives up their freedom. I then applied this behaviour to the person who accepts the scientific explanation for the dark thoughts and emotions we experience when suffering from illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

In the second part, I introduced Heidegger’s lecture on the origin of the work of art, and how poetry uncovers truths about the world through its use of
language. Music is also a form of poetry so in contemporary times I believe that accepting the truths presented to us about mental illness by musicians is acting in good faith. I supported this argument with the examples of Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Kendrick Lamar. Additionally I analysed a select few examples of medical accounts of mental illness in order to prove that they were an insufficient approach to mental health.

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?’

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?

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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

The Cost of Creativity

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization- the concept of madness and how it has developed over time. Foucault argues there was a specific moment in history when madness was labelled as a mental illness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy- life is subject to extreme bouts of suffering. Artistic production can contribute towards overcoming the pain we encounter in life. What implications does this have on the link between madness and creativity?

Are creative spirits more likely to be mentally ill? Ultimately the aim of this project is to reflect upon the complex relationship between insanity and creativity, to decide whether there is a correlation between individuals who suffer from psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia, and those who are highly artistic. It is arguable that there is a link, as mental illness and creativity often co-occur. However, this project will also reflect upon the idea that a correlation is simply a romanticised outlook with dangerous implications, and that mental illness does not need to be present for creativity to exist.

The subject matter will be considered via the philosophical thoughts of Foucault, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, but also with reference to the psychoanalysis work of Freud drawing upon examples such as Daniel Paul Schreber, a famous German judge who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, whom Freud interpreted. The evident Freudian influence expressed by Andre Breton within his novel Nadja will also be addressed. Breton believed insane people were simply victims of their imagination.

‘Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break through. It is potential liberation and renewal’

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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Can one be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Object/Territory: How should we understand the concept of ‘psychopathy’ in relation to political theory and how we should we ought to treat other individuals?

Sources: Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud and Georg Hegel provide powerful theories that can be applied to the idea of psychopathic individuals.

Project outline: The distinction of ‘criminal psychopath’ and ‘white-collar psychopath’ is crucial for my investigation because the contrast between the two opens up a kaleidoscope of questions about psychopathy. The violent explicit nature of criminal psychopaths and the charming and charismatic character of white-collar psychopaths highlight the disparity of individuals that can be considered psychopaths. Hobbes’ egotistical humanity and Smith’s doctrine of altruism provide interesting material to apply to the elusive behaviour of psychopaths.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Safety in numbers: Understanding the popularity of the internet’s, ‘Alternative Light’.

The Alternative light in this context, is specifically that of, ‘Anti-Social Justice’ YouTube channels.

In my project I set out to understand three main things:

How these anonymous, internet based, political movements come about. About other real-world movements such as Occupy wall street
Is there any Philosophical foundation, or key figures, in founding this movement? (I define it as a movement due to its large growth both in viewership, and online political presence). And how does this compare to the foundations of other more extreme movements.
In the case where there is no foundation of these kinds, how does the world view remain so homogenous, and are there any issues in the foundation of everyone’s belief system?

Along the way I employed primarily the Philosophy of Nick Land, as he is most heavily associated with the movement, and helped in highlighting the significance of analyzing the alt-light specifically. I mapped the progression of these channels from their atheistic, anti-creationist origins, and using the philosophy’s, including that of Land and Nietzsche, showed the significance of this genesis, in the progression of the movement.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Do the topics of feminism and speciesism need to be discussed as one sphere of ethics in order to be rendered valid?

Territory- ecofeminism is a branch of political philosophy which suggests that the oppression of women and animals is intrinsically linked, to the extent that women shall never be free until animals are also freed of oppression. This study focuses on a text by ecofeminist philosopher Andrée Collard called Rape of the Wild in order to conduct an axiological critique of the views widely held today in regard to the topics of feminism and speciesism. The territory of ecofeminism is hugely significant to modern day Earth as many issues surrounding both the treatment of women and animals are evident within the 21st century.

Concepts- in order to evaluate and examine the concepts held by Collard and the ecofeminist movement this study focused on ideas from other highly esteemed philosophers such as Kant, de Beauvoir and Aristotle. Concepts such as Aristotle’s Great Chain of Being and de Beauvoir’s idea of the ‘Other’ are useful when applied to the views held by Collard in order to determine how significant the link is between women and animals and how this relationship should be approached in terms of actions and beliefs held within modern day society.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Finding Peace in a Frantic World: A Critique of Mindfulness using David Foster Wallace’s talk ‘This is Water’

Project Aims
To argue Foster Wallace’s popular talk This is Water highlights Mindfulness as an ideology.

Foster Wallace highlights how Mindfulness key aspect of its thought believes in a Kantian autonomous/individualistic/ a-historical subject transcendental subject.

Implicates argument within the social context – Mindfulness is an antidote to stressful neo-liberal conditions

Economically and ideologically productive system of thought – 3.72 trillion dollar industry

Ideologically repressive – It blames you for your mental health problems!

Could Mindfulness be self destructive?

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Artistic Appropriation: Do you Own what you Create?

Plagiarism is wrong. Says who? Why should we obey this? Does Plagiarism stifle creativity? Is plagiarism a force of coercion and obedience?

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Rachmaninoff: Nationalism and “Russianness”

Territory: Russian Late-Romantic Music
Object: Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor
Method: Interpretative and Axiological
Aim: I will be using Frolova-Walker’s musicology and Adorno’s musical philsophy to dissect Rachmaninoff’s Prelude and discuss whether it can be understood as a piece of Russian nationalist music.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Sexuality in the modern era is a social construct

Michael Foucault
– The repressive hypothesis
– Changes in sexual practices over time
– Mode of power within society

Theodore Adorno
– Enlightenment
– Culture Industry
-Standardisation of sexual categories

Do sexual categories define individuals?
Has sexuality always existed?
How does sexuality function within society?

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Student Suicide: A philosophical investigation into whether attitudes towards ‘Suicide’ have changed over time?

My project will examine whether contemporary society’s attitude towards ‘Suicide’ have changed over time?
Are we living in the past?
Are we scared to talk about mental health?

My territory is ‘Student suicide’
My object is the BBC Three documentary ‘Student Suicide: Real Stories’.
The documentary looks at how three students took their lives at University; but from the perspective of their loved ones.
Many students do not tell anyone, as they feel “ashamed”.

This project will focus on the philosophical concepts; Suicide and Morality.
Durkheim’s On Suicide investigates whether social factors affect suicide rates.
Hume’s essay ‘Of Suicide’ illustrates his views against the traditional viewpoint of suicide.
Kant’s The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals dictates his views against suicide.

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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

What can Louise Bourgeois tell us about art criticism?’: a meta-critique of philosophico-psychoanalytic readings of the artist.

Object: The art criticism of works in Louise Bourgeois’ Cells series
Territory: Contemporary art criticism
Concepts: Subjectivity, intention, Freudian psychoanalysis, the artist and their relation to works of art, authority of criticism
Philosophy: Nietzsche, Foucault, Wimsatt and Beardsley, Bal.

In my project, the work of Louise Bourgeois in her Cells series is utilised as a case study to explore wider issues in art criticism and how works of art are interpreted in relation to the artist. An examination of the reception of Louise Bourgeois’ work shows largely the same approach in psychoanalysing Louise Bourgeois and relating this back to her work and perceived intended meaning. Conversely, the position in the project argues that such a reading of her work, as well as that of other artists and authors, carries problems related to the importance of artistic intention, the public sphere of a work of art compared to the private sphere of the artist, as well as to what extent such readings are not only valid, but in the case of Louise Bourgeois count as genuine criticism rather than uncritically accepting her own statements.

Philosophy from the course included use of material from modules PHI2002 and PHI2006.

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?

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Everything Now, as Result of Creativity or Commercialism; Reading Arcade Fire with Adorno’s The Culture Industry.

Money + Love
Can artists make a statement about consumer culture without falling into it themselves?

Territory: Arcade Fire’s album Everything Now

Object: Consumer Culture
Philosophy: Adorno’s The Culture Industry

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

What is the role of capitalism and the ruling class in our recognition and responsibility towards the plight of refugees and genocide outside the West?

Why does Genocide outside the WEST remain unnoticed?

My aim is to uncover reasons why genocide is still a modern age problem. I will be looking in particular at the Rwanda genocide and the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. To investigate this, I will be taking a historical and political viewpoint to explore the value systems promoted within society that allow us to ignore this blatant bloodshed, which are purely based upon location and affiliation. The sources used include books, articles and scholarly certified media pieces in order to help uncover the reasons why there still remains an issue within the modern world with genocide.

I will argue that we still live in this post enlightenment era, using Kant and Hegel to describe how empty legislation and abstract laws do not meet action in the real world. I will also link the influence of Capitalism, using Adorno’s Culture Theory to help exemplify how harmful ideologies and passivity is promoted in today’s society. I will be drawing upon philosophical concepts such as moral distance, dehumanization, autonomy and recognition. Ultimately, my claim will be that this narrative of ‘the other’ is largely at play within the media. Similarly, that this passive stance occurs in the face of this, due to the powerlessness individuals feel within the system of the state.

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?

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Back to class: An investigation into the English canon through a Marxian critique of tradition and value in the education system of England

Concept: Hegemony, dialogue, critical thinking

Object: The work of Antonio Gramsci and Paulo Freire

The aim of this investigation is to argue that there exists a hegemony within education, specifically English literature. This hegemony prevents the reading of texts such as An Inspector Calls in a critical, working class dialogue.

To argue this, this investigation will examine; what is hegemony? How does it function? Where is it in education? And how can we stop it?

This investigation will argue that for a critical education system, we must adopt the work of Paulo Freire and begin the process of genuine dialogue with students when undertaking a reading.

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’