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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Student Suicide: A philosophical investigation into whether attitudes towards ‘Suicide’ have changed over time?

My project will examine whether contemporary society’s attitude towards ‘Suicide’ have changed over time?
Are we living in the past?
Are we scared to talk about mental health?

My territory is ‘Student suicide’
My object is the BBC Three documentary ‘Student Suicide: Real Stories’.
The documentary looks at how three students took their lives at University; but from the perspective of their loved ones.
Many students do not tell anyone, as they feel “ashamed”.

This project will focus on the philosophical concepts; Suicide and Morality.
Durkheim’s On Suicide investigates whether social factors affect suicide rates.
Hume’s essay ‘Of Suicide’ illustrates his views against the traditional viewpoint of suicide.
Kant’s The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals dictates his views against suicide.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

The Genetic Prison: an Exploration of the Predetermined Nature of Man

Territory: I used DNA as my territory exploring the role that the genetic code has in the predetermination of humans and if there is the possibility of freedom within these constraints. Aims: The main aim of this project was to explore to what extent human beings are predetermined through their genetic codes. I was concerned with the idea that through the development of the scientific rationale in modern society, any understanding of freedom and autonomy that we had, did not belong with modern thought. Through exploration of the understanding that genetics have the possibility of predetermination, I was able to draw comparison between genetic inheritance and the theory of the eternal return. Through this comparison I was able to examine the possibility that we could break free from the determination of our genes and the cycle of repetition that we find ourselves in. It seems important for me to recognise that it was not only through our genetic make-up that we are predetermined, but that we are also greatly influenced by the world around us, and the society in which we live. We are influenced not only internally by our genes, but by all that surrounds us, adding to the idea that we are predetermined. This led me to question if it was at all possible for us to have freedom and negate that which influences us to allow us any sort of autonomy. The idea that humans are predetermined has major implications for moral responsibility. This is because the theory of predetermination seems incompatible with the idea of moral responsibility. If we are determined to act in a certain way then we cannot surely be held accountable because we did not choose to behave in such a way. I aimed to explore the idea that if we are to be accountable it is necessary for us to have some freedom, or at least the ability to gain autonomy. Philosophers: Predominantly I used the writings of Nietzsche, with particular interest to his theories on the concept of the eternal return. When looking at genetic determinism I compared his ideas with those of Dawkins and Matt Ridley. Through exploring the idea of predetermination through society I examined the writings of Locke with particular interest to his understanding of the Tabula Rasa and looked at how Nietzsche’s ideas related to this. Finally as I examined the implications of predetermination on moral accountability I looked towards the ideas of Durkheim, who saw man as being moral through his participation in society. I also looked at the work of Kant and his idea of transcendental freedom and morality through duty, once again comparing both thinkers with Nietzsche’s ideas.

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.