2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Is it worthwhile to use drugs for aesthetic production?

Aesthetic production is an innovative and important part of humanity that holds value. Using psychedelic drugs can increase human potential and possibilities in aesthetic production but outdated moral views on drug use are holding us back. Psychedelic drug use should not be dismissed as a means to facilitate creativity. The hermeneutic-interpretative approach is appropriate to develop this claim due to analysing Friedrich Nietzsche and George Bataille’s primary texts and secondary interpretations of them to formulate an argument. I shall critique the norms and axiology of contemporary culture to assess the moral views on drugs because it is an endeavour into what is worthwhile. This methodological approach is favourable over a historical contrastive method because this project is interested in the concepts of transgression and enhancing creativity not in changing attitudes towards drugs over time. For clarification psychedelic drugs can be defined as a group of substances that can change or enhance thought processes, sensory perceptions and energy levels. They are known informally as hallucinogenic drugs and are used recreationally to heighten one’s state of awareness and induce mind-altering experiences. The most common psychedelic drugs used are Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD/ Acid), Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Mescaline and Psilocybin (magic mushrooms), these will be referred to in abbreviated form. All of which are naturally occurring substances found in specific plant species, fungi or mould.
It is crucial to certify that aesthetics is a fundamentally important element of existence that is worth enhancing. Aesthetics attends to the nature of beauty, artistic experimentation and an extensive list of art forms that embody free creative human expression. Different modes of being and doing manifest themselves in aesthetic creation along with diverse ways of thinking that encompass emotion. Art is a precious component of human existence, and the process of aesthetic experience should have room to transcend and realize itself beyond the sphere of human understanding, if we can enhance it further, we ought to.

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.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Freedom, Power, and Psychoactive Therapies.

Does drug prohibition provide safety within society, or does it merely conceal our freedom, and the freedom of low-income and minority communities to protect the middle-classes?

This project focuses on a Foucauldian framework to analyse the power dynamics between the systems that are supposed to protect us, and addicts’ abilities to control their own forms of therapies. It also analyses the freedom of addicts themselves, and whether the therapies currently in place helps these people to break out of their situations and take control over their own lives, or whether it just slots them into a position that conforms with societal norms at current.

I also analyse different future options for therapies for low-income and minority communities breaking from their drug addiction with psychedelic therapies and psychoactive substances.

The aim of the essay is fundamentally an attempt to breakdown the lives of addicted people and the ways in which we can continue to support them and provide them with the freedom that as humans, we deserve.

2014 Abstracts Stage 2

‘The War on Drugs’; an account of Marijuana throughout the history of the United States and how constant law reform is a product of postmodernity, with reference to Foucault.

My objective in this essay is to produce a detailed account on the history of Marijuana within the United States and to distinguish whether or not constant law reform is a result of postmodernity and the concentration of power within a society.

Firstly, I will examine Cannabis throughout the history of The United States and by doing this it will allow me to depict how the ebb and flow of acceptance has come about. Then I will address law reform and correlate it with the workings of Postmodernity in order to show how a concentration of power is able to alter the perception and experience of a social phenomenon. Lastly I will underline how the strategic, critical and rhetorical practices performed by those in power creates a clouded perception of reality.

2012 Abstracts Stage 2

The Legalisation of Drugs: The Case for Socio-Cultural Relativism

– To outline the key philosophical, social and legal theories which are integral to the debate about the legalisation of drugs.

– To consider some of the most salient and persuasive cases for the legalisation of drugs, including:
o Medicinal cannabis use
o Spiritual or religious drug use

– To make recommendations for changes to the extant legal and social policies with regard to certain types of illegal drug use.

“In our societies, the systems of punishment are to be situated in a certain ‘political economy’ of the body […] it is always the body that is at issue – the body and its forces, their utility and docility, their distribution and their submission.” (Foucault)

The War on Drugs

Key Thinkers
– John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
– Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

What is the Appeal of Intoxication Through Drug Use and is Society Right to Condemn It?

My project is an investigation into the ETHICS OF DRUG USE.

I used questionnaires and surveys done in the last 4 years on young people and most particularly, CLUBBERS. My empirical research showed me that the WAR ON DRUGS IS LOST, as almost 2 MILLION people use illegal substances EVERY MONTH.

I found that the EFFECTS OF DRUGS are EXAGGERATED in the media to support the SOCIAL ATTITUDE OF CONDEMNATION. I presented the arguments that DAVID HUSAK, a legal philosopher, puts forward as to why DRUGS SHOULD BE LEGALISED.

I explored the MOTIVATION BEHIND DRUG USE and concluded that for most, recreational drug use consists of a HEDONISTIC SEARCH FOR PLEASURE.

I used MILL’S HARM PRINCIPLE to explain why he might not condemn drug use, since in itself, it does not harm others and also looked into his ATTITUDE TO ALCOHOL. I also looked into a possible UTILITARIAN COUNTER ARGUMENT.

GUY DEBORD and the SITUATIONISTS help us to understand the CONDEMNATION of drug use by the MEDIA.

My most interesting CONCLUSION is that while we permit the consumption of alcohol, we must also PERMIT DRUG USE.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Drugs and Society: Changing Attitudes and Perspectives

Why do we seemingly have unjust laws in our society? Alcohol and Tobacco have been proven to be extremely harmful and so why are they not illegal as well as other banned drugs? If it is due to the revenue generated by the sale of these products then surely we are being treated as means to an end, and this is morally wrong. Could Utilitarianism or Paternalism be the key to this answer? Are the laws consistent? No, in fact the laws are hypocritical and must be revised.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

Religion, Religiosity and Trainspotting

Religion as a particular system of faith or worship. A system of beliefs. A belief in a higher power, a belief in spirits, Mana, Darshan. A development from primitive culture. A direct relationship with God, or with an unseen higher power. George Bataille, Theory of Religion. A destruction of the world of immanence, a destruction of the vague intimacy of man. The creation of tools, the turning of everything, man, animal and tool in to a thing. The thing, a symbol of duration, of utility, of productivity, that which destroys intimacy and immanence. The Sacrifice, is the only way to restore things to the realm of the sacred, make a thing no longer a thing, to return it to what it once was “The thing – only the thing – is what sacrifice means to destroy in the victim.” The Festival is that which offers a release from the problem of being human, it is not the perfect solution, but it is the only one. It allows man to break free, but only as free as his consciousness deems useful. Intoxication, Drugs, Alcohol, Raves, Clubbing. Various forms of release in our society, ways which match the Bataillean idea of festival as being the only way for man to get in touch with his lost self, a return to immanence. All these things are depicted in the work of the contemporary author Irvine Welsh, as he describes the exploits of his characters in working class Edinburgh, whether they are on psychoactive drugs, or in the lost world of heroin.