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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

An investigation into the ways in which consumer behaviour has changed as a result of the pandemic, how big tech companies are using this change for profit and the social implications of this.

The aim of this project is to look at consumerism, specifically consumer behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic and how it has evolved. The project will also explore how big tech companies such as Microsoft and Google are planning on using this for their own profit and power gain, whilst finally looking at some of the social and critical philosophy of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to highlight how this might be problematic and the potential implications it holds for society as a whole.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

‘The End of History? Really?’ A Philosophical Investigation into Francis Fukuyamas work the End of history and the Last Man. With Reference to Hegel and Oswald Spengler

‘The End of History? Really?’ A Philosophical Investigation into Francis Fukuyamas work the End of history and the Last Man. With Reference to Hegel and Oswald Spengler
The Object of my study is whether Francis Fukuyama’s famous work ‘The end of History and the Last Man’ and the predictions made in it hold true today since the book was published in 1992. My dissertation therefore is centred around the Philosophy of History and which interpretations are the most accurate for describing the way in which history is manifests itself. The other two philosophers I shall look out is Georg Hegel and his dialectical approach to history and Oswald Spengler with his cyclical approach to History. I decided to do my dissertation on this as I believe we live in a very polarising time I was intrigued find out the significance of it on the historical timeline by investigating various view points written on it
Fukuyama in his book makes the bold statement that we have reached the end of history and what he meant by this is specifically is the end of ideology as Western Liberal Democratic traditions have reigned victorious for 100 years and have survived many potential coups by Communism and Fascism alike. Fukuyama states that humanity has reached a harmonisation with liberal democracy and their aren’t any contradictions in human life which cant be solved through its mechanism of government
Fukuyama’s conclusion is based on Nineteenth Century German Philosopher Georg work on the philosophy of History building on his dialectical process as the driving force of history. The ‘dialectical’ process sees that humanity reaching a final state after the Spirit in history which is in a state of conflict, producing a constant thesis and antithesis, finally resolving itself. Fukuyama believed that liberal democracy was the final synthesis from the thesis and antithesis conflict. Through out this section examine how much Fukuyama agreed with Hegel and where he veers off and goes in his own direction. I then Investigate whether liberal democracy still reigns supreme, I observe the fact that it is indeed still the primary mode of government in the western world however faith in it is faltering. This is highlighted by a Politico Survey which demonstrated Millennial’s are the most disillusioned generation ‘living memory’ in regards to faith in democracy.
Once examining Fukuyama, I go back into looking at Hegel in more detail, evaluating the circumstance that potentially humanity hasn’t reached a final ultimate synthesis yet as Fukuyama believes we have rather we are still in a state of dialectic. I look more deeply into Hegel’s idea of History being a manifestation spirit. The purpose of this is to help understand whether we are still in a state of dialectical process or not.
In my dissertation I move on to my final philosopher who looked at history in a completely different lens to Fukuyama and Hegel, German Philosopher Oswald Spengler. Oswald Spengler was one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the 1920’s, Times magazine famously said ‘When Spengler Speaks the whole world listens’. Spengler gained fame for his seminal Work ‘The Decline of the West’ which he considered to be a Copernican moment in the study of philosophy for history. Unlike the other two who viewed history as linear reaching a final point, he viewed history as the rise and fall of self contained cultures, their life span could be split into the 4 seasons. Spring being the rise of the culture, summer being the Apex, Autumn being stagnation and winter being the demise. According to Spengler the west had entered the Winter period and is in a state of decline which leads to it falling into a era of Ceasers aka dictators. This is at odds with Fukuyama’s belief that liberal democracy has won the ideological battle, hence why I included it in my dissertation. I go on to test the validity of Spengler’s prediction analysing the trump presidency as a possible example as well as using

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The construction of the ‘human’ in Marcus Tullius Cicero’s thought and its Heideggerian rejoinder

Progressively foregrounded precisely in its lack of coming to presence is the operation by which an individual’s human or non-human, inhuman, status is delineated. It is thus that the margin of delineation by which the propriety of a human being’s humanity is decided becomes questionable and prompts further reflection. Receiving its impetus from Martin Heidegger’s Letter on ‘Humanism’, the following essay shall take the ‘human’ as galvanized in the thought of Marcus Tullius Cicero as its object, foremost reflecting on the human is discursively constituted in the complementary texts De Republica and De Legibus. This essay thus contends that Cicero’s thought constitutes the exemplary object of the critique Heidegger’s letter poses, and as such provides an essential foil to Heidegger’s proposal as to how the notion of νόμος (nomos) should be uptaken in light of the truth of being.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

How has Tarot reading continued to thrive in a post-metaphysical world where rationality is paramount?​

Tarot reading has gained a notable amount of popularity in recent years, but this does not align with the increasingly rational, post-metaphysical society of the West. Perhaps this new age scientific rationalism has proven too harsh for humanity, and there are calls to return to a more spiritual path. The individualistic nature of Tarot reading is much more appealing than the previous demands of traditional religion that once dominated society. Tarot reading may also be used as a therapeutic tool that can reveal unconscious desires for the future that have been repressed by the psyche, and through an act of projection onto the Tarot cards, we can reveal these true desires that are usually hidden from the surface.​

The concepts that I will use to explore this question are Mele’s self-deception, Freud’s psychoanalysis, Jungian archetypes, Semetsky’s therapeutic hypothesis and the rationality of logical positivists.​

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Climate catastrophe, Political Imagination and Attitudes towards the future

In my project I investigate the problem of modern politics, especially the absence of viable alternatives to our contemporary political system. I use climate change as an example of an issue that is limit testing the stability of the status quo. I use Marcuse’s concept of one-dimensional thought and Badiou’s ethical theory as examples of radical critique of stale political arrangement, and also thinkers inspired by them like Mark Fisher and his concept of Capitalist Realism.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A Fair Trial of Rawls. The sixth Article of the Human Rights Act of 1998 outlines the right to a fair trial in the United Kingdom. To what extent does Rawlsian theory justify the fairness of the trial process?

A fair trial of Rawls.
The right to a fair trial is a human right held by those living in the UK. Rawlsian theory lays claim to the fairness of the criminal trial and insists upon the ability of such a procedure to produce fair outcomes. This is frank account of the reality of criminal trials in the UK, the procedures in place and the extent to which Rawls is able to justify his claims. Individual liberty, amongst other things, appears to be in jeopardy. Will Rawls produce a suitable enough defence to clear his name of all shortcomings?

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Risk

An investigation into the nature, history, prominence and management of risk on both a personal and professional level. To answer the question of whether humans or computers are more effective risk managers.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

What is Horror? A Psychoanalytic Perspective

This project aims to explore the territory of horror fiction,
investigating the question of ‘what is horror?’ through a
psychoanalytic perspective. This investigation is focused on H.P.
Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness, published in 1936;
this constitutes the object of the project. The psychoanalytic thought
that will be drawn upon is, primarily, that of Sigmund Freud and
Jacques Lacan, with Slavoj Žižek used as secondary theorist
throughout. The philosophical concepts employed in this project are
Freud’s notion of the unheimlich and Lacan’s order of the Real,
though the latter is streamlined through the Žižekian reading of the
Real as horrifying.
An application of these psychoanalytic frameworks to the material
provided by Lovecraft’s novella will offer two contrasting accounts
concerning what constitutes the notion of horror. The Freudian
approach rationalises the image of horror by tracing it back to certain
repressed content, whilst the Žižekian-Lacanian approach
understands the phenomena of horror as an interruption of the Real
into our social reality. This project argues for the salience of the latter,
on account of the reductive tendency of the Freudian framework that,
ultimately, fails to capture the philosophical richness of the material
with which it is dealing.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

What are the implications of actors playing roles with a different sexual orientation to their own?

This research paper seeks to answer the research question of “what are the implications of actors playing roles with a different sexual orientation to their own?”. To do this the objects of Armie Hammer’s performance as Oliver in Call Me By Your Name, and Rupert Everett’s Performance as Sir Arthur Goring in An Ideal Husband are applied to Sartre’s notion of authenticity and Butler theory of performativity. Sartre’s notion of authenticity is used to assess the implications to the authenticity of an actor’s performance when playing a character with a different sexual orientation to their own. Butler’s theory of performativity is used to assess the implications that performativity has on performances, specifically performances where actors play roles where their sexual orientation is different from the character they play.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Analysis of the Existence of Billionaires in Today’s Economic Climate

This project is a philosophical analysis of the existence of billionaires in today’s economic climate. In today’s society, there is an ever-increasing number of billionaires. Meanwhile, there is also a large number of people living in poverty. Many of the wealthiest people today, such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are considered to be philanthropists due to their many charitable actions. Although it is undeniable that these actions are more significant than those of many other billionaires today, it still seems that this is simply not enough in today’s economic climate. This project will aim to understand if there is an alternative to the way society is structured. Firstly, we must consider whether the human desire to have an excessive amount of wealth is something that is fundamental to human nature, or whether we are conditioned by society to think this way. In order to do this, I will consider Thomas Hobbes’ account of man in the state of nature to understand how man is naturally greedy. I will also consider the Marxist critique of capitalism to understand how society conditions us to believe that we are in a state of scarcity and need to work for new symbols of exchange. After fulfilling this research, I will conclude that it is within our human nature to be greedy animals, wanting an abundance of goods, and the society we live in simply facilitates this need. It will then be important to consider how the goods within society could be distributed in order to account for this inherent greed. I will discuss the ideas of John Rawls and Robert Nozick on distributive justice. I will present the ideas of Rawls which seem to be commendable, however Nozick’s critique of Rawls will show that it would be impossible to remain in a state of equal distribution without sacrificing individual liberty – a higher order good. Overall, the project will highlight that wealth is a central element of society today, and the only way to account for the inequalities we see is to diminish liberty; a conflict which is unresolvable.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Alternative ways of distributing competition in sport in light of the issues surrounding the acceptance of trans-athletes.

There are two main sides of the debate surrounding the issue of trans-gender athletes competing in sport – The first considers that everyone is entitled to participate in sport. The second deems it unfair and unsafe to allow trans-athletes to compete.

I offer to resolve this debate by proposing two methods that would change how competition is distributed. Moving away from the current system that sees competition based on sex, I will use Judith Butler to see if competition could be based on self-identification and John Rawls to see if competition could be based on what I will term as ‘micro-biology’.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Pseudo-Intellectualism: A Deep Dive Into A Cultural Phenomena

Through my research into pseudo-intellectualism as it is conceptualized by today’s society, I have identified two many features that make an argument pseudo-intellectual. The first being; a foundation in some sort of reasoning or logic, and the second being the use of faulty rhetorical appeals in order to make a claim. These arguments are usually made to provide the consumers of these philosophies with a sense of both meaning and purpose; this is done in order to combat a sense of meaningless and unfulfillment in today’s modern world.
What separates an intellectual from that of a pseudo-intellectuals, is how the latter will base their argument on facts and reasoning, but will then use faulty rhetoric in the formation of their arguments. Aristotle conceptualizes rhetoric as; ethos, pathos, and logos. These three forms of rhetoric are understood as; an appeal to credibility, emotion, and logic. All forms of arguing rely on a least one of these forms, and sound arguments can be built using these three rhetorical forms. Pseudo-intellectuals, on the other hand, attempt to use these rhetorical forms, in an unjust manner in order to fully persuade the listener of their point.
In today’s pop-culture the pseudo-intellectuals that often get the most attention are the ones that use these faulty methods of reasoning to evoke a sense of meaning and purpose in the audiences that listen to them. It may seem harmless, but because they do this, they are given a lot of unwarranted attention and authority when it comes to social and academic topics. This allows them to speak on things they aren’t fully qualified on, which can divert social discussion to that of semantics, which then dissolves social discussions to that of arguing for the sake of proving a point. This in turn, creates a divide in society.
It is important to be able to identify pseudo-intellectual arguments because they can be very enticing, due to the fact that they are based on reason, and promise the listener with a sense of meaning. But because they aren’t sound conclusive arguments, if ever placed under scrutiny by anyone knowledgeable, they will crumble along with what meaning they provided.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the way Technology is advancing really “rational-and-desirable”? (A Critique)

Is the way Technology is advancing really “rational-and-desirable”? (A Critique)
A project by Emily Saladin-Crosse. 3rd year, Philosophical studies. Newcastle university, 2021.
[Item Image]
[key words: introjection, consumption of mediated, de-sublimated product and information; deciphering true and false needs; nothing radically new, increasingly; mediated learning…]
“Dear Guests,
As of 2021, we ask for your help for a critical approach to modern-day technology. To bring you up to date… The new “phenomenological playground” is the internet. Via the phone/ screens we consume products: are “fed” information, images, videos, short and long pieces of information all the time, on the news, social media, etc. Every single thing is at arm’s length (literally), just a *click* away: information, product, print, photo, … everything beautiful and ugly, available and accessible. Art, replicated, multiplied, “free”. Same with porn, and fighting. Surveillance is invasive and “normalised”. For instance, online, we give in quite voluntarily to different forms of surveillance, because it looks rational and desirable and it looks like we have choice. In fact, we are recognised as workers and consumers by Tech. The image shown is the one I utilise to demonstrate/ illustrate parts of the multi-layered problem of deciphering true and false needs which poses perhaps more and more of a problem than before because of technological tendencies towards infinity.
‘Everything is functioning’- says Heidegger, but also: ‘All our relationships have become merely technical ones.’ (Der Spiegel Interview, published after his death, 1976). Today, the values of the Enlightenment bombarded with items according to technological interests instead of our own. This is no longer “rational” to Marcuse in his critique of the Enlightenment ‘One-Dimensional Man’ (1964).
It is valuable to look into ideas such Tech reproducing 1-Dimensional thought in individuals and society as a consequence of “introjection” from the outside (a psychoanalytic notion to be examined). Technology and mediated learning would cause a problem for 18th century Rousseau, but the modern-day Rousseau-inspired educational theorists: we hold on to the idea of an analytic over synthetic approach to education. Whether there are true or false needs at all, is also a question to address.
The writing is in the form of a dialogue, online. This is how the forum proceeds:
ACT 0: Positions.
ACT I: The Paradox of Technology.
ACT II: Deciphering True and False Needs.
ACT III: More critique.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

How does Online Surveillance Serve to Assert Power and Reduce Autonomy

I wanted to investigate online surveillance and how it asserts power and reduces autonomy

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Should transwomen be banned from elite level rugby with reference to Judith Butler and other feminist thought.

This Project weighs up the positives and negatives of transwomen participating in elite level sport. The essay will be structured logically to allow for an in-depth argument. Firstly, empirically evidence will give an overview with an analysis of scientific research and public opinion. Following with philosophical input to give a moral and feminist stance on the matter. Overall leading to an overarching conclusion, that is, transgender women should be able to participate in elite level rugby.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Kantian Perspectives on the use of Government Powers in Overseas Counter-terrorism operations

The aim of this project is to investigate the current counter terrorism dilemma concerning the targeted killing, using drone strikes, on British terrorists overseas. It will be explored through a Kantian perspective and criticised, ultimately arguing against Kant’s theories. The primary case study used throughout the project is on the 2015 Reyaard Khan killing, ordered by PM at the time, David Cameron. There are four subsections within the dilemma to be explored: firstly, whether it is morally sound to kill at all, then assuming for the purpose of the essay that it is, whether it is ok to do so without a fair trial. The project will also investigate whether the British Government should be killing British citizens overseas when the death penalty is illegal in the UK, and if they are not, should they be passing on intelligence to the US for the Americans to send the drones instead?

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Credit – Freedom or Control?

Credit will, in all likelihood affect everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it be a student loan, a mortgage, a credit card or buying a car ‘on finance’, the possibilities are vast.

I will look at the ideas of Hegel, who subscribes to the view that it is property is the embodiment of freedom, as well as that it is essential to the development of one’s personality, individuality and Asking whether credit can be seen to enhance one’s access to private property and therefore enhance their freedom.

I will then look at Lazzarato, who explores the debtor creditor relationship arguing that everyone, in the neoliberal age, has become debtors through a process of subjectivation by their creditors. But is this the case?

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Language and Self-Expression

I was compelled to write this project by a pattern of observations relating to the nature of language that began surfacing in the works of various philosophers, after having read the work of Wittgenstein. To cite some examples, from Arendt: ‘language, the medium of thought’ ; from Breton: ‘the speed of thought is no greater than that of speech, and does not necessarily defy capture in language’ . From my own experience, thought always seeks to transcend the limitations of language, and sensation can never find its perfect expression in speech. Yet it is true that the principal method by which we communicate these thoughts and sensations is language, and further for Arendt, the internal communication of these phenomena through a dialogue with ourselves is the very thing that makes us human. These observations highlight a tension inherent in all of us. The desire to express our humanity enters into direct conflict with the limitations of language. The aim of this essay will be to discuss this conflict. I hope to highlight some of the functions of language in thought, and to establish the possibility of achieving genuine self-expression through language in spite of its inherently communitarian nature. This the nature of the topics discussed prohibits me from offering some definitive conclusion; the essay is intended primarily as an exploration of the paradoxical relationship between the necessity of language, and our desire to escape its limitations.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

The Precarious Worker as Homo Sacer

• This project will place the film ‘Sorry We Missed You’ (2019) within the territory of biopolitics, in order to understand the relationship between the worker and their employer.
• ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is a film set in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, following the Turner family where parents, Abby and Ricky, work within the gig economy.
o Abby works as an outsourced, in-home care worker.
o Ricky is a delivery driver, mockingly referred to by his son as a “white van man”.
 As a contemporary film, this project shall be contextualised against the backdrop of ‘Capitalist Realism’: the pervading atmosphere that capitalism is the only possible economic system.
• Workers that are self-employed or are on zero-hour contracts are referred to as ‘precarious workers’.
o Precarity is anxiety that lacks a definite object.
• Paolo Virno empirically observes these workers to contain the qualities of opportunism, fear and cynicism.
o These qualities alienate workers from their social ties as their morals are uprooted and knowledge is fixed to capital, creating ambivalence.
• Ivor Southwood’s first-hand account of this sector echoes Virno arguing that workers suffer from inertia as they can no longer separate work from their private life.
• The relationship is biopolitical as the relation between worker and employer is constituted by the originary bond of sovereignty to bare life.
• Over the course of the film, the bare life of the worker is demonstrated by the violence and exploitation exerted towards Abby and Ricky, for the goal of maximising their bodies potentiality to gain capital for their sovereign employer.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Shaking the Third Rail: Reforming Taxation

For my project I’m going to be exploring the concept of taxation with reference to the philosophies of John Rawls and Robert Nozick.

– I’ll analyse Rawls and Nozick’s conceptions of justice and how these apply within a state.

– I’ll apply Rawl’s principles of justice to the current tax system to argue that reform is necessary.

– Further I will attempt to dismantle Nozick’s conception of justice and taxation to show it does not go far enough.

– I’ll consider the specific reforms to income and inheritance tax that can be made to move the UK closer to a Rawlsian just state.

– The current taxation system in the UK will be central to my argument, but reference will be made to the tax system post WW2.