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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.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Philosophy of Music and Sound

An insight into the key questions and thinking that surround the philosophy of music; An outline of the relationship between sound, noise, and music; and the changes that have occurred for music and the philosophy of music over recorded history.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A Discussion of the Representation of Women in Horror

This project seeks to explore the film genre of horror, and within that, its representation of women. With a territory surroudning the representation of women in horror, the objects of this project consist of a selection of horror films, most notably slashers from the 1970’s and 80’s. These include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I & II, Halloween, Aliens, and the non-slasher Videodrome. The overall aim of the projects was to discover how a genre so fixated on producing an atmosphere of fear from the physical mutilation and sexual assault of women could be anything but negative representation. However, through the researching and writing of the project, it was discovered that, through the exploitation of cultural taboos, the horror provides space for concepts of female agency, inverted male-female dynamic, and critiques of existing gendered issues of domestic violence and the sexual exploitation industry, to be explored in ways which other film genres do not allow. Moreover, horror has always existed as a medium for representation, specifically for women, compared to more commercially and critically successful films have not.
Through utilizing Freudian psychoanalysis, and screen theory, this project dives into the aforementioned films, as to derive how female characters within the films are represented, through their costuming, framing, and overall qualities. In addition, Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex allows an application of feminist philosophy to the project, providing depth to the politically/culturally systemic nature to the representation of women in the broader sense. Furthermore, her reference to the Hegelian Slave-Master dialectic assisted in the analysis of the discussed films.
Other texts used within the project include Laura Mulvey’s ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Coral J. Clover’s Men, Women and Chainsaws, and Erin Harrington’s ‘Gyneohorror: Women, Monstrosity & Horror Film’.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

“Genealogy of Power: Tracing the Penal System within Educational Institutions”

This essay explores the genealogy of the penal system as a paradigm for understanding power dynamics within educational institutions, drawing from the philosophical works of Michel Foucault and Friedrich Nietzsche. Building on Foucault’s theoretical framework, this investigation delves into the structures of power and discipline, including hierarchical observation and normalising judgement, and their pervasive presence within contemporary educational environments. Nietzsche’s insights from ‘On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life’ and ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’ offer an additional lens to critically appraise the formation and enforcement of norms in these settings. Cinematic representations of these concepts, primarily found in Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If….’ and Peter Weir’s ‘Dead Poets Society’, are analysed to provide tangible illustrations of Foucault’s and Nietzsche’s theories within institutionalised education. The essay demonstrates how, akin to the penal system, educational institutions exercise power, regulate behaviour, and manage deviation, resulting in a profound influence on individual formation and societal coherence. By juxtaposing the penal and educational systems, this analysis highlights the urgency of addressing the inherent power imbalances and restrictive norms within educational institutions to promote more equitable learning environments.

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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.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A comparative analysis of sustainability, public consciousness, and tribal beliefs and practises throughout Australia

My project focused on sustainability, environmental consciousness, and responsibility; all thing’s most western societies don’t seem to have a grip on. I wanted to explore why some communities, specifically indigenous groups, seemed to be able to act much more respectfully towards the environment than most other populations. This was an important topic for me as the climate crisis is something my generation has grown up with. It has been something most of us hear about almost every day, and yet the society I live in values so many things above the environment, despite the amount we rely on it. The environment is a current and important topic at the moment, so not only is it something that I am passionate about, but there is also an abundance of resources and information, giving me a lot of perspectives, and elements to the debate to look at.
In my essay I looked at sustainability and environmental consciousness in the context of two different societies. The first being Aboriginal Australians, as the representation of a tribal mindset; the second being non-indigenous Australia, as the representation of a mindset, of a more industrial and economically developed society. Before I looked into these two ways of life in detail, I discussed some of the current theories and debates regarding the climate crisis and society’s reaction to it. The main thinkers and activists I considered were Peter Singer, John Broome, René Descartes, Núria Almiron, Marta Tafalla, and Greta Thunberg. This gave me a good impression of what has been said already, on topics similar to my own, a lot of which I heavily agreed with, such as Thunberg’s chapter, ‘We are not all in the same boat’. Agreeing also with Broome’s responses to those denying contributing to the climate crisis. I wanted to combine a lot of what these thinkers had been saying, I aspired to directly compare the differences in ecological thought and action of these two different realities and see what mindsets, if any, would be to blame for our lack of action and denialist behaviour.
I started by directly comparing the two ways of living in four very simple aspects of life: Diet, Clothing, Beliefs and Practices. This allowed me to see, quite linearly, the differences between the two, both in environmental impact and also in views regarding nature. I unsurprisingly found that due to the Australian Aboriginals habits such as only eating locally sourced food, making their own clothes without excess, their environmental impact is almost none. They work within the “circle of life” acting as an element in the food chain rather than as a disruption to it. This way of life brings to light how out of touch and excessive most of us living in “developed” civilizations are. With eating packaged, intensively farmed meat every day, to shopping online and buying more clothes made in sweatshops across the globe. It became clear, that what allowed us to act like this is the values appreciated by the societies we live in, consumerism and individualism. This is completely different to that of the Australian Aboriginals; their whole lifestyle is rooted in their religious philosophical belief system, the “dreaming”, which has connected them to all other species and the land that surrounds them. This doesn’t force them to treat the land with respect, it motivates them to treat it with respect because they genuinely care and appreciate the nature that has helped them grow and survive. This is what I believe our more economically, industrialised societies are missing, a respect for nature imbedded in genuine ecological awareness and experience. My essay aimed solely to create and enforce a dialogue between the indigenous, and non-indigenous communities and bring light to an underappreciated, unutilized perspective.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Rise of Apocalyptic Styling Following the Covid-19 Pandemic and its Effects.

My project is set in the domain of existential fashion, particularly the rise of apocalyptic styling following the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, both positive and negative. I have drawn philosophical concepts from the works of Jacques Derrida, including his ‘Of Grammatology’. Alongside this, I have referred to Ulrick Beck’s ‘Risk Society’, Risikogesellschaft (1986), in relation to people becoming increasingly preoccupied with a sense of impending doom that has been brought about by the pandemic: portrayed through recent fashion choices and explorations. To support my discussion further, I have incorporated the works of Marilynn H. Johnson in her Adorning Bodies (2022), in which she explores the philosophical implications of bodily adornment. Johnson notes that existential feelings and thoughts inspiring people’s fashion decisions, are not uncommon. As we have seen previously, different trends and popularity of statement pieces of clothing, rise following grand world events, such as in the 1960s in response to the Vietnam war and adjacent Civil Rights movement. The rise of apocalyptic fashion serves as proof of the determination and adaptability of human beings, along with our willingness to persevere through difficult situations, and it is this that I have delved into in this project.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Prayer and the Attainment of Knowledge

This paper attempts to show how the object of prayer is linked to knowledge, as knowledge from a theological standpoint finds its root in God, and prayer from an Islamic perspective is seen as a direct communion with God. I will look at this from a cosmological aspect, with regard to the idea of man being created in the image of God and the Adamic potential of man. I will also look at the different levels of knowledge and what knowledge is for both Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn’ Arabi and Abu Hamid Al Ghazali. Ghazali emphasizes the concept of the heart being a vessel of knowledge and uses light as a metaphor for knowledge, I will try to outline how to attain a state where knowledge is possible by means of the heart, as well as showing from a cosmological perspective that the function of humans is to be in constant remembrance of God, thus constant prayer, through the idea of the divine names of God.

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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.

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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.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A Spotlight on the Near Dark: The embodied performance of reading and its use in philosophical investigation.

An exploration of the experience of reading as an embodied cognitive technology. Descartes’ Meditations will be used as an example of a text which uses this cognitive technology to its philosophical advantage.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Can psychedelics and culture coexist, an analysis of psychedelic culture and spiritualism

Currently psychedelics are undergoing a revitalisation in medical and metaphysical research. The question pressing now is how and if these substances, which produce experiences of alterity and perceptual disruptions, can be integrated into normal society. To explain this, this work has explored ideas of perception outlined by Kant, the mystical ideas of Watts and Leary before finally critiquing and evaluating how psychedelics on a cultural and counter-cultural level relate to society. From this research, the conclusion is drawn that psychedelics are not as easily compatible with normal society as a simple attempt to make them medically acceptable. This is due to their deeply rooted political, historical and still current rejection of normalizing society in favour of individual empowerment away from institutional control.

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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.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The Enlightenment: Can Progress be Achieved Through Reason?

This project aims to construct an impartial exploration into the historical era known as the Enlightenment. Also regarded as the ‘Age of Reason’ or ‘Age of Light’, the Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement which was largely based in Europe. Despite much speculation surrounding the commencement of such period in history; with some philosophers claiming it began in the seventeenth century and others in the eighteenth century, the project at hand considers the notion that humanity are in an epoch of postmodernity and that the Enlightenment is still ongoing. In spite of the uncertainty surrounding the origins of the Enlightenment, it is definite that there are conflicting opinions as to whether the movement was positive. Not merely regarded as a period in time, but also as a set of values, the Enlightenment encompasses a normative horizon whereby individuals were urged to question their morality.

Predominantly characterised with the overthrowing of religious dogma and tradition, the Enlightenment enabled individuals to come “face-to-face with the profound questions of man’s history and destiny” (Porter 2001, 14). Such questions were those that the Bible could not readily answer which allowed for the moral authority of the church to be thrown into dispute (ibid). The discredit of religious dogma and metaphysics was facilitated through the augmented importance and consequential reliance upon empirical science and reason. This major intellectual upheaval revealed a shift in how individuals perceived the everyday world due to the movement presenting a momentous challenge to old, traditional ideas so to expose them to the light of rationality in order to discover if they were valuable. Upon the discount of previously accepted authorities and wisdom, everything began to be viewed differently, permitting basic presumptions of ideas to be questioned. As a result of the re-examination of truth and tradition, religion and metaphysical explanations of the world and its happenings became disadvantaged in comparison to scientific procedure and the relevance of fact. The Enlightenment aimed to demystify the world from metaphysics with the use of science, reason and knowledge by removing sovereignty from ecclesiastic institutions, so to put it back into mankind.

In attempting to answer the overarching question of the project, ‘can progress be achieved through reason?’, the French philosophes proved crucial in demonstrating radical changes in political and social dynamics. Their goal to rely on human reason and rationalism in order to create a better society hints at a sense of progress. Concerned with how people of different social classes should relate to one another and what the relationship of ordinary people should be to their government, thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu recognised the importance of liberty and basic rights of life which prior to the Enlightenment were not considered proper outside of the Church. To understand the philosophes appropriately, the precursors to the Enlightenment, namely Isaac Newton and John Locke, retain great importance.

Advocating religious toleration as influenced by Locke and making clear the link between “the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century with its seventeenth century origins” (Cobban 1963, 119) Voltaire is arguably the foremost figure in answering the question of this project. Voltaire, as well as Frederick Nietzsche, seen the Enlightenment as the ‘Age of Criticism’ and utilised the movement to scrutinise Christian values and demonstrate that the sovereignty of the church and state is not as powerful as it once was. Providing individuals with an opportunity to question traditional thought with the interrogation of the Christian religion, both thinkers sought to mentally liberate man with approximations of the truth. This was employed with the hope to enable mankind to morally progress beyond the realms of Original Sin and the teachings in the B

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Is there is a surrealist element to mumble rap and if so, how does this effect either art form

My aim when researching and writing this project was to discover if there was a surrealist element to the subgenre of hip-hop called mumble rap, and if there was, what this would mean for both the subgenre in question and the avant-garde surrealist movement. I have done so by analysing various mumble rap songs and surrealist poems as well as discovering if surrealist techniques could be viewed in those songs. Also, I have also analysed the respective shifts within the art forms that each movement operated in. Furthermore, I have used Plato’s ideas in the Republic to understand whether the way Breton turned away from Platonic ideas and attitudes is similar to the way mumble rap artists turned away from conscious rap, which similarly contains mimetic and logical ideas. As well as this, I was interested in discovering what this means for both sub-genres. This is because Andre Breton, the de-facto leader of the early surrealist movement, famously hated the mainstream and mumble rap is a popular style of music. On the other hand, I was interested in how this would affect mumble rap and if they were linked, what the implications of being linked to a well-respected movement would do for a sub-genre often dismissed by critics. In doing this project I have gained a deeper respect and understanding for all the elements involved.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

To What Extent Can you Change your Own Personality?

A Study into Human Nature: To What Extent Can you Change your Own Personality?

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY: SHOULD FEMINISM ADOPT ANTI-NATALIST THEORY?

Anti-natalism is a world-ending set of beliefs. It calls for the extinction of humankind and suggests we no longer procreate via appeals to morality and ethics. The absolutist subject matter evokes a guttaral counterreaction from society so strong that the theory is shunned – why, then, are feminists not more in favour of it?

Feminism is a philosophical theory developed to critique and be active in its opposition to the marginalisation of women. Focusing on oppresions committed by the patriarchy, a social system wherein men are oppressors and women the oppressed, it is innately counter-cultural: today’s ‘mainstream’ is synonymous with ‘whims of the patriarchy’. As the patriarchy is a self-sustaining institution created by birth and life, and most feminists recognise that its indoctrination is inescapable, it draws into question why more feminist theorists do not advocate for anti-natalism. Bringing into existence new vehicles for male supremacy to brainwash should be the first thing feminists oppose – it is not enough just to make female existence bearable and content with oppression.

An investigation into feminist anti-natalism requires a close look into both feminist theory and the traditional bioethics of anti-natalism. Case studies and statistical analysis have been applied to the object of anti-natalism in order to create a holistic, fair exploration of the concepts used to review it.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

How IDM can be perceived as a postmodern genre

Through this project I will be discussing how the genre of Intelligent Dance music can be perceived as a postmodern genre. I will show this through separating IDM into three categorise; history, sound and culture and through these analysing each through the lens of postmodernity. To define postmodernity I will be using Vattimo and his writing on the end of history with the use of Fisher to gain closer insight to the effects of postmodernity on 21st Culture. IDM offers an interesting opportunity for the visualisation of postmodernity through music, with its very backbone portraying clear characteristics of the postmodern.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the potentially harmful implications of the censorship of thought and speech for politics and philosophy.

The societies we consider free also appear unable to resolve the free speech question. I attempt, in this project, to examine the type of speech we consider valuable, and our motives for doing so; whilst also hoping to point out a number of institutions that, for their very telos, heavily restrict the expression of individuals. I discuss the nature of the truth itself, and the value in it, whilst also arguing latterly against the Platonic ‘logos’, in favour of a Nietzschean perspectivism. The project hopes, too, to highlight and add to the discourse around ideological conformity in the 21st century.