2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Is there is a need for sentencing reform around the world?

This paper displays how there is a need for sentencing reform around the world. I had the desire to explore this topic, as in-effective sentencing acts are extremely damaging to societies These are present in almost all countries and the solution is often obvious and logistically realistic.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Should Criminals be Allowed to Have Children?

A current and stimulating insight into the question of whether criminals should be allowed to have children. With staggering statistics such as ‘online grooming crimes have risen by more than 80% in four years’ (NSPCC, 2022 raising important philosophical questions about whether it would better for society if criminals were prohibited from having children. Understanding the many moral dimensions to such a complex question is key in the debate of whether criminals should be allowed to have children.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Can one be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Object/Territory: How should we understand the concept of ‘psychopathy’ in relation to political theory and how we should we ought to treat other individuals?

Sources: Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud and Georg Hegel provide powerful theories that can be applied to the idea of psychopathic individuals.

Project outline: The distinction of ‘criminal psychopath’ and ‘white-collar psychopath’ is crucial for my investigation because the contrast between the two opens up a kaleidoscope of questions about psychopathy. The violent explicit nature of criminal psychopaths and the charming and charismatic character of white-collar psychopaths highlight the disparity of individuals that can be considered psychopaths. Hobbes’ egotistical humanity and Smith’s doctrine of altruism provide interesting material to apply to the elusive behaviour of psychopaths.

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

The Morality of Violent Video Games

Links between violent video games and highly publicised violent crimes have resulted in society continuously questioning the morality behind violent games such as Grand Theft Auto III. From a philosophical perspective can violent video games be deemed moral?

Mill: An action is moral if its consequences result in more good than harm for the majority. Mill therefore would not have condemned violent video games as there is not enough evidence to suggest a link between violence in games and violence in reality. However, video games are classed as a lower pleasure and so must be played in moderation.

Kant: Kant was concerned with activities that result in an increased propensity for one’s duties to be violated. As with Mill, Kant would not condemn video games as not enough evidence exists to suggest one is more likely to violate their duties as a result of violent game play. In multiplayer gaming one can use other players as means to an end, which goes against Kant’s categorical imperative. However, Kant would view this purely as bad gamesmanship.

Aristotle: Aristotle’s main concern with violent video games would have been the effect they have on one’s character. He proposed that overexposure to violent acts damages one’s personality. Therefore Aristotle would have condemned violent video games purely for the effect extreme violence has on one’s character

The current world of violent video gaming with its age limits may fall successfully into the category of moral but what future technology has in store will bring with it a whole new set of issues.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Nietzsche made me do it!!!!

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a German philosopher, notorious for his blistering eruptions on Christianity, moral conventions and contemporary modern society. Estranged from the outside world and in deep mental breakdown, Nietzsche left the world with an astounding legacy that would carry on to question and criticize traditional customs and morality long after his death. Nietzsche writings would have ramifications for more than a hundred years for how certain psychopathic criminals would distinguish and rationalize their crimes, and attribute their atrocities to the influence Nietzsche’s writing would have on them. However in every writers fan base there may be a misguided group of readers, this does not make the writer responsible for the misinterpretation and even less guilty of the perpetrators crimes. Nietzsche seems more than most writers to come under a lot of criticism and suspicion, this is partly to do with the content of his writing but also he seems to be attacked from another more biased angle, these are the people who want the mud to stick because Nietzsche seems to be threatening their value or belief system. One such writer who seems determined to tarnish the philosophers name is Katherine Ramsland, Ph. D. Graduate of the private, exclusive, Catholic DeSales University, established by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, who’s foundation for teaching are on the theology of the believed saint.

Ramslands writes an article which seems to be leaning in the direction of this bias view the title of her article was; “Existential Murder: The Nietzsche Syndrome” and within this article she claims that “Nietzsche inspired Hitler and other killers.” Within this project I will be investigating what Ramsland coined the “Nietzsche Syndrome” and looking at the killers which she suggests were influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophy. I hope to prove that not only is Nietzsche misunderstood in many of his concepts but that he can actually be looked at from a positive angle, I also hope to show how Nietzsche’s work has been used for good. In my research I have also noticed that Ramsland has handpicked the murderers she uses, but in no way compares them to killers who have not used Nietzsche as an inspiration, failing to draw any comparisons and pinning down any common traits held by killers seems as though she is trying to strengthen the blame on Nietzsche without any real investigation, I hope to provide these comparisons and links, and hopefully vindicate the work of Nietzsche.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Crimes of Passion: the Human Limits of Moral Convention

Could human natural intuitions ever be fully repressed by moral convention? Could our emotions ever be fully rationalized? Are we indeed rational beings? Is it necessary for us to be rational? What do our emotions mean? How do we direct them? In this project I will try to challenge conventional morality towards the feeling we have for something that is considered to be wrong, namely murder. I will use the method of reflective equilibrium in order to test moral philosophy and convention with the authentic human intuitions. Human life is indeed valuable but the main point is that human impulses cannot (or maybe, should not) be fully rationalized.

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

How Can we Account for Organised Crime in Western Society?

Territory – Pulp Fiction. Object – Jules Winnfield. 1994 Quentin Tarantino cult classic set in the glamorized gang culture of the Los Angeles underworld. Hitman Jules works alongside Vincent Vega for mob boss Marsellus Wallace. The film portrays Jules’ lifestyle as a double existence in which his brutal career disposing of those who have fallen out of favour with Mr. Wallace is contrasted by his integration into legitimate society. Aims. To uncover the drives and mentality behind Jules’ lifestyle I focussed the project around two main questions; • Why does Jules live this lifestyle of crime outside of the sphere of legitimate society? • Is he at any point truly disenchanted with the constraints of capitalist society? Philosophical Ideas I used Marx’s work to develop a foundation for a critique of modern western society. This theory displays the weaknesses and problems of a consumer-driven market that is based on profit and hierarchal discrimination of classes. The systematic manipulation of the consumer market by the predominant corporative sphere in contemporary society is then analysed using Adorno’s theory of the culture industry. This provides me with perspective for the use of the theme of Americana which is so prominent throughout the film. I then used Beck’s theory of individualization to examine Jules’ character and uncover how and why he has assumed his double role within society. Conclusions. The penetration of the American culture fits with Adorno’s notion of a culture industry; it demonstrates how invasive the extreme exposure of specified and manipulated creativity can be in the lives of the average person. Jules immerses himself in this element of western life while maintaining his role as a hitman, displaying the autonomy he exercises to work both within and outside of this framework of legitimate society. His existence within gang culture in its totality reflects the two-faced nature of capitalism; we see a prosperous exterior that hides the brutal capabilities of a paranoid core.

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Capital Punishment and Society’s View – a look into how man perceives capital punishment

Aims. The main aim of this project is to look at the topic of capital punishment and determine if it is a viable form of punishment or if it is simply inhumane. I will look at and consider the methods used and look at religion and determine if a society is responsible for allowing or not allowing capital punishment as a method of punishment. I will also look at how society has changed over the years and determine how this has influenced the perception of capital punishment. Concepts. Primarily I will look at the topic of capital punishment and I will consider the work of Durkheim and his views on society. I will also use Nietzsche as my secondary philosopher and I will consider his works on ethics. Although ethics will not be the main focus of this project I feel that I am unable to discuss capital punishment without using ethics in some part. I may also use some Enlightenment work to justify or oppose the use of capital punishment. Sources. I intend to use a wide variety of sources for this project including both primary and secondary texts. I will use both Durkheim’s, ‘The Division of Labour in Society’ and Nietzsche’s ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’ and ‘Beyond Good and Evil’. I will also use some journals and also look at works by Rousseau, Rawls, Lyotard along with Roger Hood’s book, ‘The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective’. The internet will also provide invaluable when researching capital punishment.

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Capital Punishment, using ‘Ted Bundy’ and ‘The Life of David Gale’ to explore arguments for and against this form of punishment

Territory: Capital Punishment using ‘Ted Bundy’ and ‘The Life of David Gale’ to explore arguments for and against this form of punishment. Personalised Content: The discussion of these films is supported by information that has appeared in the media after the execution of Saddam Hussein, which has brought capital punishment back into the society’s consciousness. I have noticed a change in attitudes towards capital punishment and a trend in the reasons why it has gathered support. The threat of terrorist attacks and the increase in violent crime in society has brought about increased support for the death penalty. Prior to 2001 it was generally found that people opposed the death penalty on moral grounds, however it is now gained the greatest amount of support in recent history. The increase of support surrounding the death penalty has brought about further ethical implications, including discussion of methods used and debate over whether criminals should be allowed to die with dignity. Philosophical Content: I was interested in considering how certain ethical theories would link with capital punishment, in particular the theories put forward by Kant and Mill. I wished to link the films used to one of the theories in order to gauge whether they assisted in supporting or rejecting the particular standpoint. I linked ‘The Life of David Gale’ to Kant’s view outlined in his ‘Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals’ and found that the film just reinforced Kant’s view that it is acceptable to use capital punishment as a form of retribution. The argument in ‘David Gale’ is against capital punishment, but is so weakly constructed that it only assists in showing the strengths of Kant’s work. ‘Ted Bundy’ was linked to Utilitarianism as at the end of the film we see a celebration at the death of a serial killer, showing that at times capital punishment may produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number,

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Does our Ethical and Moral Basis give us the Right to Punish and Imprison?

Aim: The main objective of this project is to, firstly, assess whether as humans we actually possess a moral and ethical basis. Then to discover where this ethical and moral basis originated from. Then to move on to investigating its position in the law, looking closely as the philosophy of law itself. Following this, a critique of capital punishment provides us with reasons we give for such punishment, which are based on a diverse number of reasons. I intended to answer the following questions: Are morals innate to us? What part do ethics and morals play in justice? Do we have the right to punish and imprison other human beings? Concepts: Having researched the subject and attempted to answer the above questions, a number of clear cut concepts began to emerge as integral to my project. Firstly, that morals originated from basic needs through hominid evolution to maintain survival, and were in fact merely behavioural requirements for the well-being of group living. Secondly, that the split between those who view morality and law as overlapping and those who don’t is extremely lucid. Thirdly, law is distinguished as a system of norms vastly different from all other norms. During the project I came to see that the arguments for and against capital punishment are similar, but argue different sides of the same fence. For example, those against argue that it debases the intrinsic value of human life. While those for argue that the only way to value the life lost it to take that of the perpetrator. Sources: For this project I used a number of sources, including books covering philosophy of law, Kant’s moral philosophy, Mill and utilitarianism, and general books which focused specifically on the law judicial system itself. Some internet resources on psychology were also of interest. The main body of text however, will be referring to Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes and John Stuart Mill.

2006 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophical Investigation into British Youth Culture in the Twenty-First Century

In my project this year I have decided to investigate the area of youth culture in Twenty-First Century Britain. What are the factors which make our younger generation feel so misunderstood by their elders? Using various media sources I have drawn upon examples of contemporary British culture where the younger generation seem to be veering off any track of recognised social development. These areas include crime, identity, media, artistic expression, drug use, gangs and many more. In my final project I hope to find some links between the changes in youth culture as we know it and some philosophical concepts which I have studied during my degree. The first section of my project will concentrate on the growing gap between the attitudes and characteristics of the older generation and the younger generation. I hope to use Nietzsche’s work on the master and slave morality to explain the reversal of the attitudes towards the elderly from a stance of respect for experience and wisdom to one of burden and frustration. It seems we now value the progress, originality and vitality present in the youth of today as far more important than anything the older generation can offer unlike fifty years ago when children were taught to respect their elders. It seems this has resulted in a loss of communication and understanding between the two groups, where the older group was once seen as dominant and the younger group as passive, we now encourage the youth of today and the elderly are either forgotten about by the state, or at least take a secondary role in society. The next section will address the growing need for our youth to differentiate themselves into identity groups depending on their fashion, music, consumer or social tastes. Whether it is choosing a particular group of friends or enjoying a special past-time the younger generation seem intent on defining every individual into a certain group or trend. Such examples as “Goths”, “Chavs”, “Hippies” or “Ras” are common in most school playgrounds. I will also look at internet sites such as “” and other blog sites and using the work of Vattimo and his “Transparent Society” text I hope to gain a better understanding of the growing need for personal narratives in the Twenty-First Century and why our younger generation require these categories to “fit in” with society. The final section of my project will deal with the growing concern towards the anti-social behaviour displayed by the youth of today. This will include all aspects of daily life from truancy, graffiti, theft, drug use, to more serious crimes such as assault and rape. Why is it we feel the youngsters of Britain these days have a lack of respect for authority? Could it be linked with some changing social dynamics put forward by thinkers such as Beck and Giddens, or the increased pressure put on our children to follow a globally fast paced, informational, consumer driven society? In my final project I hope to address these issues and find some answers to some of the most pressing issues concerning Twenty-First Century Britain.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexual Abuse: a Punishable Crime?

Aims: The main aim of this project is an attempt to come up with a universal law that could be used in the treatment of sexual predators if there is one. I will look at whether sexual abusers are deserving of punishment. I will attempt to understand the motivations of the abuser. Look at the impact that the attack has on the victim. I will look at a range of punishment theories that could be universalised for one set rule for all abusers. Questions that need addressing: Why do paedophiles consider sex with children as acceptable behaviour? Why and how do sex offenders believe what they do is right, and how do they justify their actions? Can child molesters be cured? Or is it impossible? Is it to risky to let them out? The victim is affected for life so why shouldn’t the attacker pay for life? Key Sources. Michael Foucault: ‘The History of Sexuality’ Volume 1, Ernest Van Hagg ‘Punishing Criminals’, Barry M. Maletzky ‘Treating the Sexual Offender, Ann Wolbert and Burgess ‘Sexual assault of Children and Adolescents’.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

Lordship, Bondage and the Italian Mafia

OBJECTIVES – To look at what is thought to be the Italian Mafia in Twenty First Century Southern Italy in the light of philosophical theories. – Take specific aspects of the Mafia thought such as the attitudes towards death, silence and their own identity in an attempt to understanding the conditions that must be upheld by a Mafioso. SOURCES -G.W.F Hegel’s Lordship and Bondage that features in The Phenomenology of Spirit. -Karl Marx and Frederick Engel’s Communist Manifesto -Thoughts presented in these texts in reference to the Mafia through the eyes of Bataille, Deleuze and Nietzsche. -Secondary reading in both Marx and Hegel. -Contemporary Italian and British Newspaper articles. -Contemporary BBC Internet Website news articles. -True Life Crime books written on the Mafia. TERRITORY -Exploration into the Sicilian Mafia; Cosa Nostra, through the means of contemporary documentation of the events involving the Cosa Nostra as a whole and more specifically particular Mafiosi . TRANSITION OF CHANGE Section 1- How the birth of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily which was born out to a class struggle to which the theories of Marxism can be applied has, over the years moved towards being an organisation which incorporates notions that can be more aptly applied to Hegelian thought. Section 2 – The transition of change of the self consciousness of a Mafioso who desires to become a Capomafia in reference to Hegel’s Lordship and Bondage.