Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Celebrity Power in a movie saturated culture with respect to objectification of women in society

This project focuses on Celebrity power with respect to the sexual objectification of women in the fraternity of Bollywood. Using the likes of John Rawls, Rae Langton, Martha Nussbaum and Catherine Mackinnon, the project goes into an in depth analysis of the kinds of objectification women are subjected to both within movies as well as in the culture that surrounds the social institution of the Hindi film industry. The project finds many problematic instances of the portrayal of women as tools and commodities, victim to oppression with the power majorly in the hands of Men when it comes to male vs female gender dynamics in society. Langton and Nussbaum demonstrate various forms of objectification and assert that the problem is severely ingrained in culture. MacKinnon shows that the issue is with regards to Power where the state perceives women through the viewpoint of Men and discusses the idea of the projection of ones own desires onto women. Lastly, the project uses Rawls theory of Justice, more specifically, his theory of fair and equal opportunity and applies it to the concept of celebrity power and gender dynamics in Bollywood. The findings show that Bollywood has for centuries been a breeding ground for sexism and misogyny, which its movies have normalised greatly over the decades and contributes majorly (though not solely) to South Asian culture being highly plagued with the degradation and oppression of women.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The Ethics of Time Travel

Philosophical discourse surrounding time travel traditionally engages with concepts such as the Grandfather Paradox, the possibility of time travel, issues surrounding causation, and the effects such concepts have on the nature of the metaphysics of time and change. However in this project, time travel will be assessed by its ethical consequences through contemporary pieces of popular culture, namely Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Philosophically, this project will engage with Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and his essay Existentialism is a Humanism in addition to Baron d’Holbach’s The System of Nature, as the two will be presented in direct opposition to one another as representatives of philosophies of free will and hard determinism. The objective of this project is to assess whether ethical judgements are justified or necessary in the depictions of time travel I will be referencing by evaluating whether characters are free to act responsibly or predetermined to act in ways in which they have no influence over. The object of this project will therefore be time travel, assessed through the philosophical concepts of Sartre and d’Holbach, in the context of ethics. The position this essay wishes to argue in favour for is that Sartre’s philosophy of freedom allows one to manifest one’s own moral character, and this moral character is the ultimate determinant in ethical dilemmas. There does however exist vast amounts of overlap in the two opposing philosophers’ theses however the difference lies in Sartre’s notion of bad faith which highlights d’Holbach’s refusal of his ability to choose as problematic. Therefore, the overarching argument of this project is that it is one’s own moral character that dictates their future decision making, and the formulation of such character is done through choice and freedom. Due to the philosophies of Sartre and d’Holbach hugely predating the idea of time travel, I will first give a brief description of the scientific underpinnings of the procedure of time travel, then discuss d’Holbach’s and Sartre’s philosophies, before finally applying the latter to the former.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

ACCORDING TO LIBERALISM, IS INDIVIDUAL WELFARE DEPENDENT ON STATE INTERACTION?

State interaction is a variable that each governing authority has to examine and judge in relation to individual welfare. After examining a variety of political philosophers and their beliefs on state interaction, I propose this thesis. While there is an argument for minimal state interaction, the most optimal way to promote individual welfare is through the level of state interaction that John Rawls proposes in A Theory of Justice. More state interaction than this is detrimental to individual welfare as it infringes on individual rights, and less state interaction than this has the potential to create vast inequalities within communities.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

To What Extent has Modern Digital Technology Changed the Formation of Human Identity?

Reading key thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, and Blumenberg the project will assert an anthropology which states that human identity naturally needs techne in its formation.
By tracing the development of techne into modern digital technology, Stiegler will help demonstrate how the changing nature of technology has come to change the formation of human identity.
Drawing on Heidegger, Agamben and Baldwin the project will prove how modern digital technology simultaneously systematises and fragments human identity. It will then analyse whether these effects on human identity are either positive or negative from both humanist and post-humanist perspectives.
The project will finally question what the future holds for the development of modern technology and whether human identity formation will become entirely dictated by technology or continued to be formed under the control of humanity.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Technology, neo-Nazis and Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman’s interesting philosophy of modernity and identity offers a great account of people’s fluid identities in contemporary times. Technology has evolved the way we identify with others as worldwide connections have brought people so much closer together. However, this technologically advanced world is hindered by the dark reality that neo-Nazi groups can operate and radicalise online. Thus, they must be combatted.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Enlightenment and the Iranian Revolution

This project seeks to problematize European notions of Enlightenment and to discuss notions of a non-Western form of Enlightenment. I will begin by discussing the problem of Enlightenment that still haunts us to this day. Central to this will be Kant and Foucault’s work ‘What is Enlightenment’. This will lead me to utilize work from Adorno and Horkheimer and Said to demonstrate how colonial expansion was justified through Enlightenment and Orientalist ideology. This will explain how foreign interference across the globe has been justified. I shall highlight the issues of enforcing European, Enlightenment value frameworks on non-Western cultures in reference to the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Appeal of Violence and Suffering in Marina Abramović’s Performance Art

The use of pain, violence and suffering is a huge pattern in the performance artwork of Marina Abramović. She pushes herself to physical and mental extremes, creating shocking self-sacrificial performances. Despite this, she is one of the most renowned artists in the world, and audiences of thousands gather to see her perform. This project will investigate the reasons for this great appeal of violence and aim to demonstrate that there is a more profound experience occurring during the observation of Abramović’s suffering. The particular philosophers I am using to investigate this are Georges Bataille, with major works Theory of Religion and Erotism: Death and Sensuality. Also Julia Kristeva, with her work Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

China’s ‘Social Credit’ System: Power, Freedom and Individuality.

This paper argues that China’s social credit system (CSCS) has serious philosophical consequences for Chinese citizens on the principles of power, freedom and individuality. The CSCS is a system by which individuals’ actions are monitored and consequently rewarded or punished against what the Chinese state deems to be either “trustworthy” or “untrustworthy” actions. Through the medium of the CSCS, the state has the power to dictate the truth about the rightness or wrongness of action. This paper holds that Foucault’s conception of power and, specifically, his notion that power and knowledge are intertwined, is paramount to understanding the relationship that the state and society share in China. To be precise, this relationship is one in which the state, through its power, controls and manages truth (about action). This paper does however argue that Foucault’s notion that power operates vertically (from top-down and bottom-up) is not representative of the political framework of China. As regards the principles of freedom and individuality, J. S. Mill’s philosophy on liberty and freedom is considered in context with the CSCS. This paper shows that under the CSCS, there can be no possibility, or at least a greatly limited possibility, for any individual freedom and, by extension, individuality. Mill argues that individual freedom is essential for well-functioning liberal states, and as such his arguments are central to the philosophical enquiry into the CSCS.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The Historical Progression of Superman

This project is on the historical progression of Superman the DC Comics character and how messianic themes have been built into his character. Superman is an 85 year old comic book superhero and has changed drastically since his original inception. If one looks into this progression, one can see from the very outset throughout the 20th into the 21st century, Superman has been portrayed as a messiah, and concepts of messianism and divinity are also what has drawn audiences across the world to the Man of Tomorrow. Using thinkers such as Thomas Carlyle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Bloch, I will demonstrate these ideas.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

An Exploration of Personal Identity in Contemporary (20th and 21st Century) Film and Television

What is it to be a Self?
• My objective is to explore personal identity by using film and television as thought experiments. I want to further my own understanding of my ‘self’, as well as that of others around me.
• Body theory: Our personal identity persists because we have the same body from birth until death. Challenged by ‘Star Trek’ Transporter thought experiment.
• Soul theory: The soul houses our identity, supported by Plato and René Descartes. Challenged by films such as ‘Still Allice’, how does Alzheimer’s damage the soul?
• Memory theory/ psychological continuity: John Locke’s Memory Theory. We have memory links to different stages in our lives, and they are all connected. Films such as ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Blade Runner’ call into question the role false memories can have in shaping our personal identities.
Society and the Self
• Zygmunt Bauman: Timeline of personal identity. We are in Liquid Modern Times, technology dictates personal identity. Explored in films such as ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Her’.
• Friedrich Nietzsche: Flux, we are in a constant state of becoming, so there is no fixed self that persists through time. Christian values of the past should be rejected, instead we should practise Amor Fati.
• Fixed identity: Exists in the Pre-modern Era and in Social Frameworks, i.e. institutions such as the Christian Church. Patrick Bateman in ‘American Psycho’ undergoes an identity crisis in response to the fixities in his life.
• Fluid identity: The transition from Walter White to Heisenberg in Breaking Bad is fluid identity in action. Supported by Bauman and Nietzsche, as it can make for a more tolerant society. However, lacking a solid sense of self can be dangerous.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Difference Between the Ancient and the Contemporary Hero: What The Hero Can Say About Society and The Human Character

The concept of the hero is one that has been debated and discussed sociologically, historically, and even psychologically but not so much philosophically. There is not one singular definition of a hero yet the concept can impart extraordinary knowledge of the wider world and how it has changed, as well as highlight the notable development of the concept of the self throughout the years. The interdependent relationship between the hero and the society can tell us a lot about human nature. Through looking at two antithetical heroes – an Ancient Tragic Hero and a Contemporary Superhero – and the differences between them I have investigated the idea of selfhood and how that has completely changed, alongside how society reflects this relationship. I have used Aristotle’s Poetics and MacIntyre’s After Virtue to analyse in what ways the concept of the hero can teach us these things. It seems as if the self has become something distinct, and that in contemporary society we become who we are through our actions and how we behave, in contrast to the ancients who act and behave in the way they do because of who they are. There are these crucial elements of fate and choice which highlight the complete change in the hero. Through this contemporary understanding, it seems as though it does not make sense to think of morality solely in terms of action and theory but rather in virtue and practice too. Humanity has developed to a point where we should be looking at morality in terms of character, actions, and society in a unified manner rather than just in the actions themselves.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Has the British monarchy been deteriorated the working class and if so, why would the working class support it?

The British monarchy has been apart of the political intuition for centuries. Despite being one of the few monarchies left, there is still a great amount of love for the monarch. However, it is unusual that the working class of Britain would support this ideology in comparison to a complete democracy.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Major Depressive Disorder: An investigation into causation, treatment, and support structures within the UK

Within this project, an investigation occurred which looked at the genealogy of the causation of depression and the potential treatments that result from the theories. This investigation look at studies ranging from Ancient Greece to the medieval ages, to the 1920’s, to the 1950’s and finally the modern age. This was done by researching studies, journal articles and books by both scientists and philosophers about what depression was understood to be. The discussion involved Hippocrates, Bogdan Popoveniuc, Sigmund Freud, B. F. Skinner to name a few. An interview with CAMHS also took place where a deeper understanding of support structures which offer help to children with both the diagnosis and treatment of depression. The rationale behind the project is because the author has struggled with depression for a lot of their life, and they want to understand what the potential causes could have been and what treatments might be available to the author. The author has found that depression is often caused through genetic malfunctions within a human, and is maintained through unhealthy circumstances in the environment. Also the author also found that CAMHS was a struggling system, that it was severely underfunded and understaffed, and the staff that worked there were up against immense workloads. Studies pointed to a holistic approach to treatment that takes into account both childhood, genetics and how the individual behaves at the current point in their lives. This means that therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Psychoanalysis, and treatments like medication, often fail as the disease is approached in a way that must be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. The implication of this conclusion is that a new therapy needs to be created which takes into account all of the previously mentioned circumstances, and that CAMHS needs to be reorganised in a way where children should see councillors within school that are trained in mental health specifically. These new councillors should allow for children to understand their own situations, and it should remove the cessation of social interaction that is typically seen in mental illness of children.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Meaning through Silence: A Reading of how John Cage and British Quakers view silence, through the framework of Nietzschean moral philosophy.

My aim through this text is to create a reading of how silence is used and understood by John Cage and British Quakerism, through the lens of Nietzschean moral philosophy – particularly that of Nietzsche’s ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Using Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, Evaluate Nietzsche’s Concept of Eternal Recurrence.

This project analyses the value of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence, using Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” as a contextual foundation. I argue that Kundera’s work highlights the problems that arise from not accepting one’s fate, failing to comprehend the immutable nature of the past, and refusing to recognise that suffering is an inevitable part of life. By using Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence as a psychological tool, individuals can learn to appreciate both the positive and negative aspects of existence. I contend that although criticisms, such as Karl Löwith’s, demonstrate some weaknesses, ultimately Nietzsche’s eternal return is a valuable doctrine that may act as a possible solution to the burden of existential weight.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Ethics of Ambiguity and climate change: the role our freedom plays when dealing with anthropogenic changing global climates.

Climate change has, and will continue to have, a huge effect on all of our lives. It is an inescapable fact that we will all have to live with the effects of ever changing global climates and so the way in which we decide to react to this is extremely important. Simone De Beauvoir’s existentialist thought in her book, the Ethics of Ambiguity, outlines the importance of willing the freedom of others in order to be truly free ourselves. Therefore, her book provided the perfect stepping stone for exploring the role individual and collective freedom plays in helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Analysis on the Purpose of Higher Education- A Project Exploring the ‘Middle Ground’ Between the Demands of Employability on a Student and Their Ability to Flourish.

This project explores the purpose of education with specific regard to the demands of employability on a student and their ability to flourish in higher education. The project discusses the importance of employability within the current education system, providing examples of the skills taught in universities that aid students vocationally. Drawing from philosopher Jean- François Lyotard, it is explained how he suggested that the meaning of knowledge had shifted in postmodernism. Due to economic and social change, higher education became increasingly commodified and there was an emphasis on skills and performativity in universities. The project subsequently explores the importance of personal flourishment in higher education, focusing on John Dewey and Aristotle. Understanding higher education in terms of flourishment creates an environment that supports students in becoming happy, successful and well-rounded individuals at university and beyond. First hand research was conducted, in the form of interviews, to help distinguish a middle ground. It is concluded that the demands of employability and personal flourishment in higher education are essential for individuals to become sustainably employable. This middle ground suggests that a need for both employability and flourishment is crucial in a student’s life to help them, and consequently society, reach their full potential in the 21st century.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Plural Expression: Exploring the place of music in ethics and politics through the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot

The purpose of my project is to engage with the question ‘is there an ethical relation in art?’ as posed by Emmanuel Levinas in Reality and its Shadow. My aim is twofold, first to demonstrate my belief, using Levinas’ ethico-phenomenological framework, that in the performance of improvised music, at least between bandmates, we find an ethical relation consistent with the one that Levinas outlines in his work. Thus, finding Reality and its Shadow to be inconsistent with Levinas’ system.
My second aim is to expand on this inconsistency to critique Levinas’ system more broadly, outside of his framework and using Maurice Blanchot’s notion of community to do so – the aim of this is to further the case for the ethics, or at least ethical potential, of art as well as a more positive role of art within a community. To do this requires making apparent, what I see as, the shortcomings of and stifling nature of Levinas’ ethical theory.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

An investigation into the portrayal of ‘perfection’ on social media.

This project shall investigate the premises of social media to explore how perfection can be portrayed online, alongside the effect that it can have on individuals and society as a whole. Using the concepts the ego, the id and the superego, from the work of Freud, The Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real from Lacanian psychoanalysis and the notion of shame from Sartre, this project seeks to understand how these concepts can be used to understand why an idealised online persona is desired.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 3

LIBERALISM AND NEUTRALITY

Modern liberal democracies are often assumed to operate in accordance with an unobjectionable neutrality with respect to the various worldviews of their citizens. By examining the work of Locke and Rawls, I demonstrate that even the most sophisticated conceptions of society and secularity rely on value-judgements that are asserted by the state on behalf of its citizens. The aspirational target of value-neutrality held by the liberal democracy is thus shown to be unattainable.