Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Drill Music Hoping for the Future. An exploration of the notion of hope through the subgenre of drill.

In this extended essay, I will explore the subgenre of drill music and how it can possibly be used for the disadvantaged youth to engage with the notion of hope in order to escape their condition. Firstly, I will explore the subgenre of drill music. Looking closely at its history as well as the controversy that surrounds its lyrical content and depictions using the works of Jonathan Ilan and Tricia Rose. Highlighting ‘the street illiterate’ readings as well as the continual scapegoating and alienation of an already marginalised group by both the state and their peers . Then, I will look into the notion of hope with aid from the philosophers Bloch and Marcel, making the link between music, creativity and the utopian dimension and the darker side of positive emotions when living in fear. Finally, I will look at the drill artist Abra Cadabra and his album “Product of My Environment”, this album exemplifies how hope can be encouraged through drill and how the engagement with the notion of hope can free oneself from their unfortunate condition of poverty and oppression.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Can the Sustainable be Beautiful?

This project engages with different philosophers and materials in exploring the concept of beauty within sustainable architecture. It seeks to further the inquiry into sustainability to include aesthetics and beauty in order to suggest a new way of living to make sure of the continued prospering of a community. It will argue that a sense of place and care is important in fostering a sustainable environment and that beauty plays a crucial role in this. This is particularly relevant as the concept of sustainability is in the news and, in the planning agenda. If we continue to neglect the research of beauty within sustainable architecture, it is possible we may slowly eradicate beauty in the future. Thus the purpose of this research is to end the divide between the sustainable and the beautiful. The first section will explore the different accounts of beauty, exploring subjective versus objective paradigms. The second section will explore the role of modern architecture in the decline of beauty within architecture in favour of sustainability through case studies of certain modern buildings. Further, it will examine the concept of dwelling and the art of making place through Heidegger and Christian Norberg-Schulz in explaining why modern architecture is failing.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

The Commandments of Satoshi: Establishing the Religiousity of Bitcoin

The brainchild of an anonymous entity shrouded in mystery; Bitcoin grew from being a revolutionary technological breakthrough to a radically transformative moment. The creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a world where trust in banks or governments was no longer necessary. Instead, Bitcoin offered a glimpse of hope, an opportunity to unshackle the financial system from government mandate and towards a currency run by it’s holders. Bitcoin’s code and complimentary philosophy has reached every corner of the earth, inspiring tens of millions to unite in the belief that change is essential.

Both Bitcoin enthusiasts and skeptics have likened the movement to a religious phenomenon. This essay is explorative and aims to examine the core philosophy and beliefs of the individuals and communities within this movement by applying various interpretations of religion to the Bitcoin phenomenon. Firstly, an introduction to and exposition of Bitcoin will help to pinpoint reoccurring symbols, practices and feelings that will later be compared to the following theories of religion, in turn. To explore the impact the movement has had on individuals I will be applying William James’ conception of religion, which emphasizes subjective experience. Furthermore, Emile Durkheim’s theory of religion, which focuses on collective practices and shared beliefs will be utilized to assess the ideals and customs of the Bitcoin community. After these theories are outlined and utilized, the fourth part of this essay will summarize the philosophical significance of the beliefs and practices surrounding Bitcoin.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Privacy Laws are required in order for society to flourish

Privacy is becoming an ever increasing point of discussion in the contemporary world as of the increasing use of social media and technological advances in such areas as data surveillance. This project looks to tackle the issues that arise with privacy by first looking at privacy and its link to personal autonomy and trust which is especially relevant to the modern state which has greater control over the private life of individuals such as in medical research and in legislation concerning life such as in the case of euthanasia. This project shows the value in which privacy has in maintaining the separation of the public and privacy sphere which are essential for society to flourish and allow for such things as personal relationships to be formed. This project looks at such thinkers as Jeremy Bentham,Plato,Aristotle and Kant to reach a conclusion to why privacy laws are required for society to flourish from a philosophical standpoint.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

The Death of Death in Representation: A Heideggerian investigation into representations of death in mainstream media during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media found itself burdened with the responsibility of informing members of the public of the deaths occurring around the world and the immanent potential of their own deaths from this disease. Studies have shown that consumption of this media coverage is associated with negative mental impacts, such as increased levels of anxiety and depression (Niel et al., 2021). This, therefore, indicates an important topic of investigation and a key opportunity to investigate media representations of death. In this project, the effect of media representations of death on our self understanding will be investigated through the philosophical framework provided in Martin Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’. Through a close reading of this text and a historical account of the representation of death in UK mainstream media during the ‘lockdown period’ of 2020, it will be shown that even in this case, where death is represented as an immanent possibility of the reader, media representations cannot provide an understanding of death that will enable an authentic mode of ‘Being-towards-death’. This project will also provide an understanding of complex concepts found in ‘Being and Time’ through their application to recent world events.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Artificial Intelligence: Human, Non-Human, and Inhuman Minds

Artificial Intelligence is becoming an increasingly more common part of our lives, whether we like it or not. Whether necessary for our species’ survival or an existential threat, it is clear that this technology is forcing us to consider the questions behind it all: What is the mind? What is consciousness? Are we anthropomorphising inanimate matter, or are we neglecting a sentient being? This paper looks at contemporary discussions surrounding modern AI, such as the likes of LaMDA and Dall-E, and how deeply rooted they are in conversations surrounding philosophy and psychology from the last two centuries, specifically those of behaviourism vs. functionalism. As well as aspects of the conversation which have been overlooked by AI research, such as psychoanalytical approaches, this paper uncovers rhetoric seen from all sides of the conversation which in some cases betrays questionable world views.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

To what extent is authenticity present, simulated or not present in Reality Television programmes?

This project is intended to investigate the existence of authenticity in Reality Television programmes. It will look into three main Reality Television shows: The Only way is Essex, Made in Chelsea and Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Whether or not Authenticity is present within these three shows will be investigated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Charles Taylor

It will then be discussed what is meant by simulated authenticity with a reference to a case study conducted by Randall L. Rose and Stacy L. Wood who interviewed 15 Reality Television viewers and evaluated their perceptions of authenticity through the participants journals and interviews.
This project will ask and answer the questions: Is what we see on our screens authentic? Has it all been constructed for entertainment? How do we become our true authentic selves? Is authenticity present, simulated or simply does not exist within the genre of Reality Television?

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the opposing philosophies of Robert Nozick and John Rawls in the context of modern British politics

This essay delves into the fundamentally opposing philosophies of Robert Nozick and John Rawls, two profoundly influential political thinkers whos works have shaped contemporary political thought. By examing both Nozick’s libertarian perspective and Rawls’s liberal egalitarian position the essay aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of their opposing beliefs regarding justice and the role of the state in society. Furthermore, this essay contextualises the works of each philosopher through highlighting the ways in which Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair’s political ideologies reflect the works of Nozick and Rawls, respectively. Through comparing the ideologies of these politicians to the works of Nozick and Rawls the essay explore the practical implications of these contrasting viewpoints and their impacts on society, welfare, and public policies. Overall, this essay aims to provide a deeper appreciation of the complex relationship between philosophy and politcs.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the Role of Masculinity in the 21st Century: Has the term ‘masculinity’ evolved too far and does the popularity of books such as Fight Club prove a yearning for the reinstatement of traditional masculine values?

It’s difficult to highlight an exact point in history at which the role of masculinity changed. In the 19th Century masculinity, along with being male as a gender, also connoted physical attributes such as strength, confidence, and the ability to provide for one’s own family. This was accompanied by the idea that, on an emotional level, they must appear emotionless and strong in times of fear and jeopardy.
During the early 19th Century, Great Britain participated in two world wars, in which it was expected that healthy male adults should join the army and protect their country against the threat of Nazi Germany. This, perfectly, epitomises the role of males in the period, as it exemplified the role of masculinity and protectors, as women and children were expected to stay at home and help the war effort in different ways, such as the manufacturing of weapons and artillery.
Whilst the refashioning of what the term ‘masculinity’ denoted was gradual, there were key historical points which helped redefine the term. Hence, following the war, however, in the 1960s and ’70s traditional gender roles were challenged following the influence of the feminist movement.
This thesis will look at the history of masculinity in Great Britain since the 19th Century; explore how it has changed following the rise of feminism; and how the role of books such as Fight Club (1997) and American Psycho (1991) have appealed to the modern man desiring for ‘old-fashioned’ masculine values to be reinstated in society.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation Into The Relationship Between The Law Of Attraction And Philosophy

This essay will draw upon philosophical ideas to attempt to explain the origins of the Law of Attraction and identify its philosophical background despite its new age modernity. It is beyond the scope of this essay to verify the Law of Attractions ultimate existence; for the purposes of the research, it is only important to acknowledge the theory as a conceptual observation. Authenticity of the law is not under question here, but rather the social and philosophical foundations that it is built upon. The Law of Attraction is a universal law based on the principle that whatever is given out by thought or action is returned to the subject. As Bryne, a leader in popularising the doctrine contemporarily, suggests, “we create powerful emotions about what is in our minds..then the law of attraction returns the same to us” (Byrne, 2012, p.114). This law states that any personal desire can only be accomplished objectively and externally by concentration and positive thinking (Curtis, 2009, p.250).
Increasingly evident in its growth and positioning in the mainstream sphere, the implication of the law of attraction itself, is that as it is presented as a law, there are underlying sciences contributing to its establishment. By using applications of traditional schools of thought including Stoicism and Epistemology, I attempt to establish linkages instead between the logic behind the Law of Attraction and philosophical thought. The law of attraction is often validated by a combination of scientific and pseudoscientific theories, thus creating duality in its background

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Dungeons & Dragons or Enlightenment and Play

This project socially critiques the tabletop fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. To this end, I engage with game studies to clarify notions of play and Joseph P. Laycock’s account of meaning production within D&D specifically. For these thinkers, play provides a space constitutively separated from and opposed to external life. This is an imaginative activity. Laycock highlights quasi-religious function of engaging in imagined worlds through a sacred order in D&D. I critique these accounts for their undeveloped social theory, which foreshortens their analysis, taking play or the religious sentiment as historically invariant rather than as social and historical products. As a background to this critique, I engage with the critical theory of Adorno and Horkheimer. For them, the self-defeat of the Enlightenment characterises the contemporary social world. The former failed to realise its promise of liberation and instead continued the domination it sought to overcome.
I go on to unfold the historical dialectic of D&D. From its inception, it has been a product of bourgeois society which serves its work process, despite its ostensible separation from external life. Play and narrative, in the form of the novel, both have utopian possibilities in turning against the world as it is; I contend that D&D regresses from these into an appendage of the work process which disappoints the existent possibilities of games and novels in truly opposing the ruling order. Rather than overcome magic, D&D mimics the magical practice of sacrifice in sacrificing the player’s own prohibited desires which would contradict the social process. Yet it does so in a form thoroughly characteristic of the Enlightenment; therefore, it can only be classed as regression.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

To what extent does asexuality occupy a space of resistance in relation to Western culture and adjacent values?

This essay tackles the question as to what the function asexuality embodies within or against Western culture. In recent years, the sexual orientation of asexuality, characterised by a lack of sexual attraction towards others, has been increasingly made aware, leading to a deeper understanding of human sexuality. Yet, it remains to be concluded whether this new understanding of sexuality can be incorporated into the Western perception of asexuality. Or whether it inadvertently functions as a challenge to Western culture and adjacent values. Utilising both academic and philosophical works- such as Bogaert, Plato, and Freud- providing a range of varying views directly or indirectly dealing with the object of asexuality. By analysing these sources, asexuality is demonstrated to have expanded one’s understanding of human sexuality, the progression of attraction and arousal. This immediately stands in opposition to the high value and pushing of sexual relations of the Western world as the path to happiness, validating the argument of asexuality’s function as an enlightening, inoffensive resistance to Western culture.

Categories
2023 Abstracts Stage 2

If there is a necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then whose duty is it?

In this project, I will assess the extent of the necessity to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions on a practical level. Our duty is our moral or legal responsibility to do something. In this case, our duty is to reduce the emissions of GHGs that are contributing to the global warming effect. This effect is causing climate change, which has negative global impacts. I will provide philosophical claims from a number of philosophers namely Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. I will also offer my own insights in conjunction with this.

The object I will be discussing is the reduction of GHG emissions. I will consider this from a wide perspective from international and national authorities to businesses as well as on an individual level. My territory is questioning the extent and type of duty that these different groups have in order to combat the impacts of increasing GHG emissions. I hope this project will provide a unique angle for philosophically assessing how the approach to sustainability and climate change prevention varies on a wide scope. There is an expanding need for lawful duty to reduce GHGs due to ongoing inaction, although this is difficult to implement internationally without being vague due to the varying social and economic conditions of countries across the globe. I will conclude that we have a collective moral duty to reduce our GHG emissions.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

With particular reference to Francis Bacon’s use of red in his Three Studies for a Crucifixion, do the existentialists give a more satisfying account of the effects of colour than earlier thinkers?

With particular reference to Francis Bacon’s use of red in his Three Studies for a Crucifixion, do the existentialists give a more satisfying account of the effects of colour than earlier thinkers?

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

Sexuality as a commodity: Emancipation or Oppression? An investigation into OnlyFans and its effects on women’s social emancipation.

My aim of this project was to investigate the impacts that the platform OnlyFans has had on the sexual emancipation of women. I did this by providing an analysis of Pier Pablo Pasolini’s work on sexual emancipation and capitalism, thereby applying these concepts to the context of OnlyFans. I discussed the works of Rae Langton and Martha Nussbaum on objectification and pornography and applied these concepts to the concept of OnlyFans.

I discovered through my research and analysis of Pasolini and OnlyFans that OnlyFans can have a detrimental effect on women’s sexual emancipation in a capitalist society as it contributes to consumerism. The concept is that consumerism perpetuates the concept of ‘false tolerance’, introduced by Pasolini in his work Trilogy of Life Rejected. This is the idea that the lower classes and minorities are encouraged to be sexually emancipated, however, it is in fact all a commodity. This means that OnlyFans contributes to consumerism and therefore, does not actually emancipate women, but uses their bodies as a commodity.

In the context of objectification, Langton and Nussbaum provided an understanding that tradition pornography objectifies women and denies them of their autonomy. I concluded that because OnlyFans is done completely autonomously by the women who created the content, OnlyFans does not objectify women to the same severity as traditional pornography. Therefore, suggesting that OnlyFans is a healthier and safer alternative for women to traditional pornographic material.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The persistence of history, as explored through Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

This project explores the persistent hold of history on the present, with
Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle being used as an example of this phenomenon. The hold of the Second World War in the novel is shown to have a significant effect on the present for the characters, as it has for Japan as a nation. Philosophical ideas are taken from Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida and Fisher. Through Hegel, a philosophy of history is discussed, with the progression of history as a result of spirit realising its freedom. Both Nietzsche’s Apollolian and Dionysian states are explored, as well as his concept of the eternal return. Derrida’s notion of hauntology is used to show how the past can haunt the present, with Fisher being used to further explore this, with our inability to retain memories of the present leading us to hold onto historical memories. The symbol of the wind-up bird itself is used to show how the hold of history is depicted by Murakami, with the wind-up bird signalling the machinery of history, yet also being a role for those who must wind the springs of time. This project explores how individuals, like those in the novel, could respond to this hold of history, with the individual choice of embracing history, and its prophecy-like role, or succumbing to fatalist doom.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Can Phenomenology Provide a Valid Account of the Runner’s High?

This project will explore the object of the runner’s high within the territory of Phenomenology, in particular, the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty in The Phenomenology of perception and the work of Martin Heidegger in Being and Time. The runner’s high is generally understood as acute and positive mood changes that occur with running and jogging over long distances, that can be explained by the scientific endorphin hypothesis. However, this project aims to show that this is limited as it does not provide an account of our actual human experience of the runner’s high. It draws on literature and blogs that describe the author’s personal experience of the runners high in order to analyse this phenomenon as it actually appears to us. The application of phenomenology is significant in proving an account of this as it includes the way things are experienced by humans and treats this phenomenon as real and significant. To an extent, this project argues that Phenomenology can provide a valid account of the runner’s high as the application of Heidegger’s work partially provides an explanation of key factors in our experiences of the runner’s high. However, the application of Merleau-Ponty’s work provides a more sufficient account.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A Discussion of the Psychic Mechanisms Within Cinematic Catharsis

The emotional release that is often felt by spectators when observing cinema is an interesting focus in the context for Freud’s catharsis, as early cinema was still developing as an art form when he wrote his various works. He extensively discussed the psychic mechanisms at play during dreams, fantasy and even when telling jokes yet applying his theories of repression and the unconscious to cinema specifically has produced insight into the unique experience of being a spectator to cinema.

This dissertation explores the role of catharsis in cinema, focusing on the 2016 television series ‘Fleabag’ and analysing the psychic mechanisms at play during such catharsis. My object therefore is Cinema and Fleabag and the territory is catharsis.
Cinema is referenced through a variety of secondary sources and Fleabag is referenced through Phoebe Waller- Bridge’s original scripts- The Scriptures (2020).
Aristotelian Catharsis is reference through his Poetics (1995) which influenced Freudian catharsis as demonstrated in Breuer and Freud’s Studies in Hysteria (2004) which describe a therapeutic technique which harnesses the process of catharsis to treat neurotic patients. Finally, I discuss the feminine experience of catharsis with reference to the popular culture term dissociative feminism, relating it to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (2011).

By the above primary thinkers, my project demonstrates that the process of cinematic catharsis is purgative because it facilitates a processing of unconscious conflict, even if we are unaware of it.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Women, the Muse and the Surrealists: how the Surrealist movement systematically compelled women to assume the role of the muse

This project explores the object of the muse through the territory of feminist philosophy and the context of the Surrealist movement and its founder André Breton. I explore how the movement worked systematically to exclude women from the role of artist, allowing them only to be part of the movement only as muses, which are characterised by Breton as child-like and hysterical. I use the works of Catherine Malabou and Luce Irigaray to explore how this erasure can be looked at from a feminist philosophical point of view and later use the work of Simone de Beauvoir to suggest how women could possibly escape this erasure through transcendence. Leonora Carrington is used as emblematic of this escape in her autobiographical Surrealist novel The House of Fear: Notes from Down Below (1989) and I suggest that the only possible way for the female Surrealists to be seen as artists and not muses by the movement is by partaking in this journey Down Below and becoming new in this journey. Despite any progression in feminism since the Surrealist movement I argue that the place of women as muse remains largely unchanged and the systematic erasure and discrediting of women from art only continues as it had in the Surrealist movement.