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

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
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
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Understanding Love

The aim of my research was to provide a rounded explanation of the different forms that ‘love’ can be seen within. I explored my search for love into three perspectives; eros, philia, and agape. While looking at Eros, I provide a more detailed account of what romantic love is really considered to be, mainly defined by Plato in his Symposium. I then explored love within traditional monogamous relationships and the less traditional idea of ‘open relationships’ which two philosophers, Simone De Beaviour and Sartre were a part of. I then continued on to explore Philia. This outlines the love one feels within a friendship. While investigating the idea of friendship, I researched what Aristotles considers to be the three types of friendships, a friendship of utility, a friendship of pleasure and a perfect friendship. While doing this I looked at the similarities and differences between Eros and Philia. Finally, I spoke about Agape, which refers to the paternal love to and from God, as well as the love for humanity as a whole. This led me to question whether our ‘love’ for our religious leader is the same kind of love we experience in our physical relationships and friendships and whether Agape is something that we depend on more or less than a relationship or friendship.
I ask myself what links all three components? My hypothesis is that self love is what links all three. I argued that without self love, one would struggle to give and receive love from others. As mentioned by De Beavouir in relation to Ero’s, people are often brought together by “their weakness rather than in their strength”. From this, I take that they lack self love so look to those around them in order to feel loved. Within philia, it is said that “The wish to be friends can come about quickly, but friendship cannot”, meaning that we are quick to desire the love from a friend, sometimes before making a genuine friendship. I believe we would not be so quick to form meaningless friendships if we were content with our own company, content with the self love we have. Within Agape, the relationship is not measured by physical contact or quality time but through the belief that God’s love transcends anything physical. This draws a parallel with self love, as again it is, for lack of a better word, an “intangible” relationship but still remains very important. I believe one who has a strong sense of self love, would find it easier to give love as passionately and as selflessly as God does, to forgive and love those that have wronged them.

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.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

At what point does a serial killer’s moral and ethical point of view change? And is this influenced by their sociology and psychology?

In general, over the past decade, there has been an increase in documentaries about serial murderers to the point where websites are suggesting the top ten to watch. This intrigued me to the point where I wanted to investigate further; I wanted to look at the point time when their morality and ethical viewpoint changed from what would be considered to be an average person to their infamous persona of the killer and assess this investigation through a philosophical point of view. The typical serial murderer is seen to be an intelligent white man from a middle-class background. Still, I wanted to know if I could prove otherwise by looking at people from poorer backgrounds, those of different ethnicities and differing genders. This was achieved by utilising the arguments of Aristotle. How people become virtuous, Luther and Erasmus on the debate of free will to determine whether these people acted of their own volition, and finally, Freud and his concepts of Trauma, Repression and Dream to see whether these influence the people in question too, or if they are born evil. Ultimately, I conclude that all of the areas discussed combined may cause the serial murderer, but trauma and the lack of virtuous people in their lives contribute more than the others. Equally, this has opened more questions regarding these people’s level of responsibility.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Should Humans Continue to Procreate?

Anti-natalism and value creation: should humans continue to procreate?

It is not worth being brought into existence if one can potentially experience
any form of suffering. The philosopher David Benatar argues that whilst life can
consist of pleasures it also always consists of some form of suffering (making
living harmful for people and the world). “while existence brings pains as well
as pleasures, non-existence is a lack of pains and pleasures. While pain is bad,
absence of pain and pleasure is not bad, so it is always worse to be than not to
be” (Brake and Millum, 2021). It means that even if life consists of 99%
pleasure and 1% suffering then it still would have been better to have never
been.
As controversial and counterintuitive it may seem to desire to stop humanity
from bringing more people into the world, it also does not violate the moral
law to live. Kant conveys strong beliefs surrounding the idea of suicide but
never conveys it in a way that would take future generations into
consideration. Implying that as long as the individual had not yet come into
existence then one does not go against basic moral rights. It is not our duty to
consider the life of potential future generations, but it is our duty to live our
lives once we have been born (Philosophynow.org, 2019).
The arguments put forward by anti-natalists challenges common beliefs in
relation to procreation and examines the roots of where various normative
views stem from and whether they are adequate justifications for procreation.

Benatar, D. (2013). Better never to have been : the harm of coming into existence. Oxford, England:
Clarendon Press
Philosophynow.org. (2019). Philosophy Now. [online] Available at:
https://philosophynow.org/issues/61/Kant_On_Suicide.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Life affirmation and life denial: Nietzsche on Christianity.

My project dissertation focuses of a life-denying reading of Christianity. I argue, using a historical background provided by John Robertson, that early Christianity grew from the exploitation of the weak and continues to feed off inequality to this day.
Readings of Nietzsche’s primary literature details the values cultivated by Christian morality, those of ressentiment and the ascetic ideal, arguing that they stunt human being’s natural drive for the fullest possible life and negates our instincts for pleasure, growth, and development. Secondary reading provided by Deleuze helps rework Nietzsche’s argument, providing an understanding Nietzsche’s famous theory will to power, which I then consider in relation to the life-denying power of Christianity. Brain Leiter also tackles Nietzsche’s ideas of a higher man, allowing for a more critical reading which I explore and build on.
The life-denying values which prompted Christianity’s growth into a worldwide religion are perhaps best criticised in Nietzsche’s works, and I will argue that as Christianity has expanded, these values that have permeated the political and social space, must be understood and challenged.

Categories
2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Desire and Consumption: an Investigation of Consumerism via Pasolini, Tiqqun, Deleuze, and Guattari

We’ve had Athenian civilisation, we’ve had the Renaissance, and now our civilisation centres round the arse.
-Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le Fou

Since World War II, capitalist society has experienced a proliferation of consumer goods and items so vast that, according to Jean Baudrillard, they have come to take on the nature of flora and fauna. Our streets are lined with shops and restaurants, while our houses are filled with various nonessential items. For some, almost every moment in waking existence is related to consumption. For others, consumption is a type of leisure, a break from a life spent in an office doing paperwork. But how did we end up in this endless cycle of consumption? Why is consumption a lifestyle for so many people? How could such a large societal change be enacted in such a short space of time?

Judging by how quickly capitalist society has accepted and embraced consumerism, it would seem as though humans have an endless capacity to consume, and that consumer capitalism frees us to pursue this natural end. However, I will argue in this essay that consumerism is an oppressive identity and force that makes us desire its oppression. I will do so by opening the discussion of a consumer identity through Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Pierrot le Fou. Following this opening, I will use Pier Paolo Pasolini’s critique of consumerism to show how consumerism acts as a force of social homogenisation, and also apply this critique to Pierrot le Fou. Then I will use the concept of the Young-Girl from Tiqqun’s book Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl to show how the consumerism as a form of social control has developed from the 1960s, and how it has created an identity that engenders more consumption, and therefore a degree of self-oppression. Finally, I will use Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s book Anti-Oedipus to show how the social and the political directly produce subjects and how desire comes to desire consumption, even if this leads to its own oppression.

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.