2021 Abstracts Stage 2

How Do Our Ethical Decisions Affect Environmental Change?

Over the course of my project I will be answering one of the most relevant and controversial questions of the 21st century. This question is a personal one as I hope to follow a career in the direction of environmental business and sustainability.
The aim is if ethics in our lives have positive or negative consequences. I will be discussing the environmental work of modern ethical philosophers such as Peter Singer and Thom Brooks whose work starts to lay out if there is a way of stopping environmental change if ethics are used in our lives.
I will be using Singer’s utilitarian approach and Brook’s political philosophy to truly discover the ways in which we can or if we can prevent worsening the environmental change problem.
I have chosen these particular philosophers as they single out the facts and problems with environmental change in both an ethical and moral perspective. They equally have two individual philosophies and ethical solutions which gives the project two very different sides to contrast.
Singer’s utilitarian and consequentialist theories and workings plays a valuable part in linking Bentham and Mill’s older utilitarian works. Brook’s political and activist philosophy gives the statistical analysis of the damage of environmental change and this aids in his conclusion, that basing ethics in our lives will slow the damage that environmental change has on the planet.
I have chosen an interpretive approach to my methodology with the analysis of both Singer’s ‘Practical Ethics’ and Brook’s ‘Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World’. These books have a number of comparisons with other philosophers and their theories which gives many different angles to display support for my view that ethics in our lives has a positive effect on environmental change.
These ethical solutions and theories I have applied to what I believe are the core ethical dilemmas which environmental change either negatively affects or that contribute to these negative effects. The areas I have chosen are the effects on the animal species and the plant species, and also the affects that businesses and governments have on contributing to environmental change in the past and present.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Is Rewilding Compatible with Veganism?

Is rewilding compatible with veganism? Rewilding is a conservation effort which can contribute to the efforts of solving climate change. Due to the use of animals in rewilding, it raises questions for ethical vegans and so my territory is animal ethics. Through axiological critique, I intend to consider veganism from a deontological, consequentialist and virtue ethicist point of view and determine which is the best approach for practical matters, using rewilding as my object.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Would it be Better if Human Beings did not Exist?

If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist?” Schopenhauer

“Being brought into existence is not a benefit but always a harm” Benatar

“Our self-removal from this planet would still be a magnificent move… What do we have to lose?” Ligotti

This project will investigate the claim that human existence is a value.

There tends to be a given assumption that human existence is a good thing. I intend to question the validity of this and investigate whether it has valid justification.

The effects of human existence will be considered from three perspectives to determine whether human existence is worth its costs.

An ethical perspective will be used to evaluate the suffering and harm evoked by and for human beings.

An environmental perspective will contemplate the impact human beings have had on the planet and the detrimental effects caused.

A positive perspective will be adopted to investigate whether human beings deserve respect. It will be questioned if something would be lost without us.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation into the Meat Industry and its Impact on the Environment

Territory: Environmental Ethics
Object: The impact of the Meat Industry on the Environment

Philosophers/Key Thinkers:
James Lovelock; Mary Midgley; Arne Naess; Anthony Weston; Jonathan Safran Foer

The aim of this project is to discover the impact the meat industry has on the environment and to question whether vegetarianism could help minimise Global Warming. To do this, the Hermeneutic and historical approaches will be used.

Throughout this project two main questions will be explored: What is the main contributor to our carbon footprint? and Is environmentalism justified?

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Beauty and Utility

The project aims to analyse the relationships between property and beauty and utility. This will include the shift in what we consider beauty to be, and how that has affected property development in the UK. Architectures and developers of the 20th Century have become impatient with beauty and replaced it with utility. I will discuss the implications for this on both the type of building as well as where these buildings are being constructed. In that vein the project will address the importance of environment and rural surroundings to human nature. Environmental ethics and aesthetics will form a large proportion of the project and the conclusion will determine whether this change in perception of beauty has had a negative effect on property in the UK and whether our spiritual and moral needs have been damaged. Key Philosophers include Roger Scruton who discusses the importance of beauty for humans in terms of understanding their nature and world around them. Immanuel Kant’s notion of disinterestedness in regard to beauty will also be analysed and compared to Scruton’s idea that one must appreciate the function of something to appreciate its beauty as well.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Nature – How Eastern and Western Views Differ

Objectives – ● To consider how eastern and western cultures view the concept of nature, and consider how this affects their interaction with the natural world, and what impact it has on their scientific progression. ● I have tackled this by considering the philosophies of the conflicting cultures, as well as looking at their scientific achievements and general treatment of nature and the surrounding world. Concepts in the east – ● Their history, and how it may have led to philosophical development rather than scientific. ● Taoism – one of the prominent philosophies of China, that puts a huge emphasis on respecting nature. I looked specifically at the writings of Lao Tzu And Chuang Tzu. ● Other cultural factors that may have led to the lack of any ‘laws of nature’ being formed, such as the nature of their language. Concepts in the west – ● Scientific revolution, which included people such as Galileo, Newton and Descartes, and led to the dominance of religion being replaced by scientific logic and reasoning. ● Western philosophy, which became more logical and science based after the revolution. I have used Hobbes and Mill as two examples. Conclusions – ● I considered how much of eastern culture can be observed in the west, and how well its differing concepts, such as its preference of inaction over ambition, can find a place in the hectic western world. ● I also contemplated which culture had the right attitude towards nature, and how much the conflicting nations could or should learn from each other.

2006 Abstracts Stage 3

How can I treat my Environment as an Other and escape the ‘Dialectical Deficiency’?

~AN ANALYSIS AND ETHICS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION~ How can I argue that my experience of Sunseed was ‘good’ beyond scientific measure? Sunseed is a environmental charity that aims to develop, demonstrate and communicate accessible low-tech methods of living sustainably in a semi-arid environment. I have identified two problems in the question of what constitutes ‘authentic living’: 1. Do I treat my environment as the Other? To act selflessly I must transcend the horizon of Being and move away from the ‘thought of being’, to treat the environment as ‘the infinite’. My experience of the world is anthropological and pre-contemplative. How has the problem of the philosophical unavoidability of thematising language shaped our attitude to environmental conservation? 2. How do I escape the ‘Dialectical Deficiency’? The truth of the existentialist concern for the fundamentalness of human subjectivity exposed in Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, where concerns become formulas and causes are rules and probability.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

The Future of Life

It is only a recent occurrence that people have realised the importance of the environment and the damage we are doing to it. This has caused a wider response to nature conservation than ever before, with more people getting involved and more things being done to protect the environment and the natural world. Attitudes have changed. How then, do these attitudes differ to previous philosophical attitudes of Western philosophy? My project starts with an introduction as to why I chose the natural world and nature conservation, it being a great interest and love for me. It continues with a look at the history of philosophical attitudes towards the natural world such as Newton believing man was very much an observer and other common beliefs that man was separate to nature. This will show to what extent these philosophies provided an attitude towards nature which was one of almost indifference as far as conservation was concerned. Finally my project moves to the contemporary where it will explore the work of Edward O. Wilson, The Future of Life to see how far attitudes have changed. For support with this discussion my project includes the thoughts and views of other contemporary philosophers such as Holmes Rolston III and current environmental issues from sources such as the news.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

The Relationship Between Humanity and Nature

I wanted to explore why we (Western Society) have the belief that it is right for humans to have authority over the rest of the environment and to dominate it, utilising it however is deemed fit. My outlook within this project is to clarify differing perceptions of nature and how they are influential. My aim is to establish how society has got the perception of nature that it has. Intro: the underlying question is why do humans believe that they have the right to dominate the environment? I intend to clarify differing attitudes towards, and beliefs about nature. Discuss the different focuses of the discussion. What is nature? Different Viewpoints on Nature. Environmental ethics: anthropocentrism, speciesism, eco-feminism, humanism, idealism, deep ecology, animal rights, vegetarianism and veganism etc. What do they say about the relationship between humans and nature? How past perceptions of nature have changed e.g. Romanticism, and why has it got more controversial? Religious Concepts of Nature. Why I am looking at religious examples. Different time spans and areas. Primitive v Modern. Religion communicates social norms. Totemism. The religion, the relationship with totems. Different teachings and sacraments. What does this say about the relationship with nature? Paganism. Mother nature, link with eco-feminism. Different beliefs. Relationship with nature. Judeo-Christian beliefs. Patriarchal, anthropocentric, institutionalised. What does this say about the relationship with nature? Religious Conclusion. What do these contrasting religions communicate about man and nature? Comparison of Christianity and Paganism-Mother v Lord. Look at respect for nature in Totemism and compare this to modern Christianity. Is Christianity fundamentally anthropocentric? Dualism, Patriarchy. Ecological effort. Psychological Relationship. Importance of psychology, what can it tell us about our preconceptions of nature? Jung’s Collective Conscious. What is it? Is it plausible that our collective conscious can dictate our relationship to nature? Discussion General psychological opinion. Nativists v empiricists. Psychological Conclusion. What do these arguments infer about humanity’s attitude towards nature? Philosophical Relationship. What can philosophy tell us? Different Arguments. Kant, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Plato. Dualism v Monism. Descartes. Spinoza. What a world view’s impact on the relationship between humanity and nature is. Conclusion. Religion, Psychology, Philosophy and Sociological ⇒ what they infer? Which has the most impact? Why do we have the relationship with nature that we do?