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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Assessing the Ethical Justification of Cryptocurrencies: A Multilevel Economic Analysis Spanning Micro and Macro Perspectives

Cryptocurrencies have experienced rapid growth in terms of their usage and adoption, showing that they have the potential to change how th economic world functions. Through the use of various ethical theories, these being utilitarianism with reference to Bentham and Singer, Deontology and Kantian ethics and Social Contract Theory looking at the ideas of Locke and Rawls. This paper intends to evaluate whether cryptocurrencies can be justified through an examination of their effect on micro and macroeconomics, by applying the ethical theories and reaching a conclusion through them.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Information is power: the ethics of privacy and data ownership between the citizen, social media companies and the state.

The aim of this project is to investigate who ought to have the authority to decide on the accessibility and use of data such as messages over social media – the state or the companies? Having the right to this level of authority will bring enormous influence politically, socially, and economically in our current society which is why it is a relevant and significant debate amongst modern ethicists

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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.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The Ethics of Time Travel

Philosophical discourse surrounding time travel traditionally engages with concepts such as the Grandfather Paradox, the possibility of time travel, issues surrounding causation, and the effects such concepts have on the nature of the metaphysics of time and change. However in this project, time travel will be assessed by its ethical consequences through contemporary pieces of popular culture, namely Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Philosophically, this project will engage with Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and his essay Existentialism is a Humanism in addition to Baron d’Holbach’s The System of Nature, as the two will be presented in direct opposition to one another as representatives of philosophies of free will and hard determinism. The objective of this project is to assess whether ethical judgements are justified or necessary in the depictions of time travel I will be referencing by evaluating whether characters are free to act responsibly or predetermined to act in ways in which they have no influence over. The object of this project will therefore be time travel, assessed through the philosophical concepts of Sartre and d’Holbach, in the context of ethics. The position this essay wishes to argue in favour for is that Sartre’s philosophy of freedom allows one to manifest one’s own moral character, and this moral character is the ultimate determinant in ethical dilemmas. There does however exist vast amounts of overlap in the two opposing philosophers’ theses however the difference lies in Sartre’s notion of bad faith which highlights d’Holbach’s refusal of his ability to choose as problematic. Therefore, the overarching argument of this project is that it is one’s own moral character that dictates their future decision making, and the formulation of such character is done through choice and freedom. Due to the philosophies of Sartre and d’Holbach hugely predating the idea of time travel, I will first give a brief description of the scientific underpinnings of the procedure of time travel, then discuss d’Holbach’s and Sartre’s philosophies, before finally applying the latter to the former.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

In What Way is Humanity Ethically and Politically Responsible for Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

This essay explores the way in which humanity is ethically and politically responsible for anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. After concluding that traditional ethics is no longer sufficient for dealing with environmental and technological ethical issues, Hans Jonas’ proposes a new ethics for this technological age is in his book The Imperative of Responsibility. He argues that the most important ethical rule humanity must follow is to act so that the effects of our actions are compatible with the permanence of life in order to ensure the future of mankind. I use Jonas’ ethics to argue that humanity’s climate responsibility is inescapable; once this responsibility is established I use Giddens’ book The Politics of Climate Change to suggest that harnessing the power of politics and policy is vital for sufficiently meeting the demands that this climate responsibility places on individuals. This essay concludes that, while individuals are the primary drivers of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, a top-down approach whereby the largest organisations and emitters are targeted through policy to reduce emissions may be the most efficient and impactful way of mitigating climate change and ensuring the future of mankind.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

At what point does a serial killer’s moral and ethical point of view change? And is this influenced by their sociology and psychology?

In general, over the past decade, there has been an increase in documentaries about serial murderers to the point where websites are suggesting the top ten to watch. This intrigued me to the point where I wanted to investigate further; I wanted to look at the point time when their morality and ethical viewpoint changed from what would be considered to be an average person to their infamous persona of the killer and assess this investigation through a philosophical point of view. The typical serial murderer is seen to be an intelligent white man from a middle-class background. Still, I wanted to know if I could prove otherwise by looking at people from poorer backgrounds, those of different ethnicities and differing genders. This was achieved by utilising the arguments of Aristotle. How people become virtuous, Luther and Erasmus on the debate of free will to determine whether these people acted of their own volition, and finally, Freud and his concepts of Trauma, Repression and Dream to see whether these influence the people in question too, or if they are born evil. Ultimately, I conclude that all of the areas discussed combined may cause the serial murderer, but trauma and the lack of virtuous people in their lives contribute more than the others. Equally, this has opened more questions regarding these people’s level of responsibility.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

How responsible can one be for one’s actions in the face of scale-atrocities

My project explored how responsibility should be attributed to individuals in the face of large-scale atrocities.
In my project, I researched Hannah Arendt a German-born holocaust survivor and political philosopher who explored her idea of the ‘banality of evil’ and applied it to the case of Adolf Eichman a Nazi leader whose role was the transportation of political prisoners to the concentration camps.
The banality of evil is described by Arendt as this unique inability in her writings ‘Thinking and moral considerations’ where Arendt used this term to portray how normal people were able to commit evil acts challenging the traditional notion that inherently evil people commit evil crimes. Arendt holds great importance on intention due to this inability to think but still believes responsibility should be attributed to those who commit the act regardless of the intention behind the action. Other secondary sources on the banality of evil were used to fully put forward the argument this project provides, although an intention for action in the face of large-scale atrocities does hold importance responsibility should nevertheless be attributed to the individual who committed the act.
In the project, the Windrush scandal was used to portray how this banality of evil is present in all societies.
the project uses Kant’s categorical imperatives to provide other alternative ways of attributing responsibility to an individual in the face of large-scale atrocities.
The project uses Hans Jonas ‘The Imperative of Responsibility to assess the large-scale atrocity which is the deterioration of the natural world to prove how we must create new ethical imperatives to combat this unprecedented acceleration of industry and technology and how we all have a responsibility to do this.
Ultimately these sources are used in the project to argue that intention in an action holds great importance but it does not take away the responsibility which should be attributed to the individual who commits the act in a large-scale atrocity

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Plural Expression: Exploring the place of music in ethics and politics through the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot

The purpose of my project is to engage with the question ‘is there an ethical relation in art?’ as posed by Emmanuel Levinas in Reality and its Shadow. My aim is twofold, first to demonstrate my belief, using Levinas’ ethico-phenomenological framework, that in the performance of improvised music, at least between bandmates, we find an ethical relation consistent with the one that Levinas outlines in his work. Thus, finding Reality and its Shadow to be inconsistent with Levinas’ system.
My second aim is to expand on this inconsistency to critique Levinas’ system more broadly, outside of his framework and using Maurice Blanchot’s notion of community to do so – the aim of this is to further the case for the ethics, or at least ethical potential, of art as well as a more positive role of art within a community. To do this requires making apparent, what I see as, the shortcomings of and stifling nature of Levinas’ ethical theory.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

The Human’s Ethical Power to Kill

Richard Ramirez, otherwise known as the infamous “Night Stalker”, once stated in an interview that ‘we have all got the power to kill in our hands, but most of us are afraid to use it. Those who aren’t, control life itself’. The first person to conceptualise evil was St Augustine, who believed in the metaphysical concept that evil was a necessary part of the world, for one cannot have good without evil. They both must coexist to create a balanced structure, thus describing evil within humans. The existence of evil is something that most humans view as destruction and nothingness, hence why they dislike the thought that it could reside within them. However, without evil in the world, there would be no conception of reality. If anything, good can only be praised as something which is not evil. Good is not a concept that guarantees happiness or fulfilment, and it is a concept that guarantees a lack of destruction.
This project will focus on the different contemporary theories of evil action regarding the concept of evil to deduce whether Richard Ramirez was justified in his claims about humanity and murder. BBC News claims that ‘over three decades in the late 20th century, there was a rise in serial homicides in North America’, explicitly suggesting that ‘a rise in serial killings [started] in the late 1960s, peaking in the 80s – when there were at least 200 such murderers operating in the United States alone’. This lead several theorists to attempt to offer necessary and sufficient conditions for evil. Some, such as Marcus G. Singer (2002), have focussed on evil as a root of personhood, whilst others, such as Luke Russell (2014), consider evil to be action-based.
The first part of this project will focus on the concept of evil and harmful wrongdoing. This chapter assumes that actions can be evil in themselves or that actions can be considered as ‘wrong’ in themselves. This chapter will then lead to evil and harm where it will be argued that evil must ‘cause or allow significant harm to at least one victim’. This part of the project will be crucial in deciphering whether evil is necessary within a person to cause another individual harm otherwise understood as quasi-deontological ethics. Then will continue into the concept of evil and motivation, which will delve into desire as a motive within a human mind, whether evil is a desire or something innate within us, otherwise known as consequentialist ethics. Evil could belong either to souls or to acts; if the former, there need be no consequences, if the latter, then evil is necessarily consequential. The next part of this chapter will focus on evil and its effect; this chapter focuses on the emotions humans must provide to commit murder and whether emotions must be involved to create evil. This chapter will conclude that evil resides within the soul rather than within the consequences of human action.
Then most importantly, the project will end with a chapter on evil and responsibility, which will focus on how evil resides in the soul using the classic argument of nature versus nurture. This will argue on behalf of ignorance, when people do not understand that what they are doing is wrong or when humans do something wrong by mistake and without intention. Then it will argue on behalf of psychopathy, where humans struggle to feel remorse for their actions which therefore makes it harder for them to act in a way which is socially acceptable. It will argue on behalf of upbringing, as evil could be distilled in childhood and traumatic experiences from a young age. This will be the crucial part of the essay in tying together the conclusion as to whether it has been ‘universally accepted that to perform an evil action an agent must be morally responsible for what she does’ unless that is of a natural event; however, there are other responsibilities for evil actions.

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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.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Why Did The Duck Cross The Line? An Exploration of Offensive Humour, Laughter as a Response, and DuBoisian ‘Double Consciousness’

This project aims to explore the nature of offensive humour, using readings of W.E.B Du Bois’ theory of ‘double consciousness’ (a duel perspective originally felt by black Americans) as well as the three laughter theories (as told by Hobbes, Kant and Freud) as a framework for presenting the main arguments regarding taboo topics within the comedic realm, these being 1.) in support of censorship within humour, with the exception of oppositional satire from the oppressed, and 2.) in support of a freedom within laughter and comedy, as per their supposed nature. I aim to ultimately offer a new perspective regarding this argument, expanding on ideas seen within my chosen concepts.

OBJECT: Offensive Humour and laughter as a response, and how this may link to censorship/freedom of speech

TERRITORY: Ethics. (Analysing whether offensive humour is ‘right’ to use)

CONCEPTS: Interpretations of DuBoisian ‘Double Consciousness’, laughter theories (as stated by Hobbes, Kant, Freud)

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Do the media overstep the mark when it comes to searching for the truth and is it necessary?

In this investigation, I answer my object of the extent to which the British Media has invaded the lives of the public. Is there a need to limit the freedom of the press, what has been done and what is left to do to ensure the protection of ordinary people? Using texts by Jeremy Bentham and the work of Hannah Arendt as my philosophical insight, I ask, are we too reliant on the press to pass us our information and if so who is to blame for the politically fuelled hate campaigns that arise towards certain groups, individuals and sectors in our society spearheaded by the media?

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A treatise on how to ethically interact with alien life, with a focus on intelligent alien life.

A treatise on how to ethically interact with alien life, with a focus on intelligent alien life.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The Ethics Behind Weapons of Mass Destruction

This investigation looks into the ethics surrounding Nuclear Armament and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.
I shall be focusing on the Cold War and more specifically, the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962. I shall be analysing the potential ethical decisions made by President Kennedy with regards to Nuclear armament against the Soviets
I shall draw on the normative ethical approached of Kant as well as classical utilitarianism
I shall also draw strongly on the work of Peter Singer and Bertrand Russell
I shall conclude that The insufficient buffer of mutually assured destruction cannot shroud the egotistical, proud political aims of the world leaders at the time of the Cuban Missile crisis as adversaries of indisputably immoral nuclear programmes.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The extreme task of prioritising patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Object – The object I will be examining is to do with the question of medical treatment and prioritisation in UK hospitals, in relation to a pandemic scenario such as covid-19 pandemic.

Aim:
How – I am applying different ethical concepts to the question of prioritisation in order to find which one will be the most helpful in deciding which patients to treat.

Why – I am looking at this because it has been a very relevant problem during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hopefully I can find the best way to prioritise patients

Concepts & thinkers:
Fletcher – situations ethics
Mill – Rule Utilitarianism
Foucault – Biopolitics and governmentality

Main sources:
Fletcher – Situation Ethics: the new morality
Mill – Utilitarianism
NHS
Foucault –The Birth of Biopolitics

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance ethical?

Is the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance ethical? Examining the ethical and moral implications surrounding nuclear weaponry.

My intentions within this project are to explore the ethical implications of both nuclear weapon use and nuclear deterrence policy. Through the course of this essay, I examine the scientific explanations of how and why the atomic bombs, both first generation and modern, are so powerful and can cause such devastation. Further on, I examine the philosophical concepts of the Just War doctrine, the concept of “dirty hands” and also the political theories of Machiavelli, applying all three to the concept of nuclear weapons. I also make reference to the success of anti-war movements in the non-proliferation movement, and the impact that various groups had in the dismantlement of vast quantities of nuclear weaponry, and the signing of several treaties.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexual Promiscuity & ‘The Great Masturbator’: An understanding of the nature and ethics of this behaviour.

Object: Salvador Dali’s “The Great Masturbator” (1929) Painting. Dali’s history as an artist confused and disturbed by sexual behaviour and promiscuous acts is represented by the strange surreal distorted imagery surrounding the sexual act. Examining Dali’s strange and disturbed history with promiscuous behaviour encourages us to ask the following questions:
-What is the nature of sexual promiscuity?
-Is sexual promiscuity ethical?

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

“To secure the future of the human species, we must colonise another planet.” Discuss the philosophical and ethical implications of this statement.

The human species faces three key threats that could lead to our extinction: virus threats, nuclear warfare and overpopulation. In order to secure the future of our species, there is a question as to whether we leave earth and colonise another planet. This essay examines that question with a central focus on Kant’s theory of duty and Kierkegaard’s idea that we must act on the strength of the absurd. It also uses value theory and Kierkegaard’s “teleological suspension of the ethical” to show that we can permissibly leave earth’s nature behind us. The argument that will be proposed throughout this essay is that, as a species, we have a moral obligation to leave our planet.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Sportswashing

This project is about the topic of sports washing, in particular, sports washing in the area of Football. It aims to provide an answer to whether the practice of it may be justifiable or not. The project shall argue against it being justified using Kantian ethics vs utilitarianism argument whereas the essay shall side with Kant. The philosophers against Kant are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. some keywords to describe this are Utilitarianism, Sports washing, Kantian Ethics, Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Football.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Mass Casualty Events

An ethical consideration for those implicated in the participation actions leading to mass casualty events. Referencing primarily the philosophy of; Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche. The historical events and individuals involved feature predominantly in the 2nd World War.