2022 Abstracts Stage 3

To What Extent has Modern Digital Technology Changed the Formation of Human Identity?

Reading key thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, and Blumenberg the project will assert an anthropology which states that human identity naturally needs techne in its formation.
By tracing the development of techne into modern digital technology, Stiegler will help demonstrate how the changing nature of technology has come to change the formation of human identity.
Drawing on Heidegger, Agamben and Baldwin the project will prove how modern digital technology simultaneously systematises and fragments human identity. It will then analyse whether these effects on human identity are either positive or negative from both humanist and post-humanist perspectives.
The project will finally question what the future holds for the development of modern technology and whether human identity formation will become entirely dictated by technology or continued to be formed under the control of humanity.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The persistence of history, as explored through Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

This project explores the persistent hold of history on the present, with
Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle being used as an example of this phenomenon. The hold of the Second World War in the novel is shown to have a significant effect on the present for the characters, as it has for Japan as a nation. Philosophical ideas are taken from Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida and Fisher. Through Hegel, a philosophy of history is discussed, with the progression of history as a result of spirit realising its freedom. Both Nietzsche’s Apollolian and Dionysian states are explored, as well as his concept of the eternal return. Derrida’s notion of hauntology is used to show how the past can haunt the present, with Fisher being used to further explore this, with our inability to retain memories of the present leading us to hold onto historical memories. The symbol of the wind-up bird itself is used to show how the hold of history is depicted by Murakami, with the wind-up bird signalling the machinery of history, yet also being a role for those who must wind the springs of time. This project explores how individuals, like those in the novel, could respond to this hold of history, with the individual choice of embracing history, and its prophecy-like role, or succumbing to fatalist doom.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

‘The End of History? Really?’ A Philosophical Investigation into Francis Fukuyamas work the End of history and the Last Man. With Reference to Hegel and Oswald Spengler

‘The End of History? Really?’ A Philosophical Investigation into Francis Fukuyamas work the End of history and the Last Man. With Reference to Hegel and Oswald Spengler
The Object of my study is whether Francis Fukuyama’s famous work ‘The end of History and the Last Man’ and the predictions made in it hold true today since the book was published in 1992. My dissertation therefore is centred around the Philosophy of History and which interpretations are the most accurate for describing the way in which history is manifests itself. The other two philosophers I shall look out is Georg Hegel and his dialectical approach to history and Oswald Spengler with his cyclical approach to History. I decided to do my dissertation on this as I believe we live in a very polarising time I was intrigued find out the significance of it on the historical timeline by investigating various view points written on it
Fukuyama in his book makes the bold statement that we have reached the end of history and what he meant by this is specifically is the end of ideology as Western Liberal Democratic traditions have reigned victorious for 100 years and have survived many potential coups by Communism and Fascism alike. Fukuyama states that humanity has reached a harmonisation with liberal democracy and their aren’t any contradictions in human life which cant be solved through its mechanism of government
Fukuyama’s conclusion is based on Nineteenth Century German Philosopher Georg work on the philosophy of History building on his dialectical process as the driving force of history. The ‘dialectical’ process sees that humanity reaching a final state after the Spirit in history which is in a state of conflict, producing a constant thesis and antithesis, finally resolving itself. Fukuyama believed that liberal democracy was the final synthesis from the thesis and antithesis conflict. Through out this section examine how much Fukuyama agreed with Hegel and where he veers off and goes in his own direction. I then Investigate whether liberal democracy still reigns supreme, I observe the fact that it is indeed still the primary mode of government in the western world however faith in it is faltering. This is highlighted by a Politico Survey which demonstrated Millennial’s are the most disillusioned generation ‘living memory’ in regards to faith in democracy.
Once examining Fukuyama, I go back into looking at Hegel in more detail, evaluating the circumstance that potentially humanity hasn’t reached a final ultimate synthesis yet as Fukuyama believes we have rather we are still in a state of dialectic. I look more deeply into Hegel’s idea of History being a manifestation spirit. The purpose of this is to help understand whether we are still in a state of dialectical process or not.
In my dissertation I move on to my final philosopher who looked at history in a completely different lens to Fukuyama and Hegel, German Philosopher Oswald Spengler. Oswald Spengler was one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the 1920’s, Times magazine famously said ‘When Spengler Speaks the whole world listens’. Spengler gained fame for his seminal Work ‘The Decline of the West’ which he considered to be a Copernican moment in the study of philosophy for history. Unlike the other two who viewed history as linear reaching a final point, he viewed history as the rise and fall of self contained cultures, their life span could be split into the 4 seasons. Spring being the rise of the culture, summer being the Apex, Autumn being stagnation and winter being the demise. According to Spengler the west had entered the Winter period and is in a state of decline which leads to it falling into a era of Ceasers aka dictators. This is at odds with Fukuyama’s belief that liberal democracy has won the ideological battle, hence why I included it in my dissertation. I go on to test the validity of Spengler’s prediction analysing the trump presidency as a possible example as well as using

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Credit – Freedom or Control?

Credit will, in all likelihood affect everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it be a student loan, a mortgage, a credit card or buying a car ‘on finance’, the possibilities are vast.

I will look at the ideas of Hegel, who subscribes to the view that it is property is the embodiment of freedom, as well as that it is essential to the development of one’s personality, individuality and Asking whether credit can be seen to enhance one’s access to private property and therefore enhance their freedom.

I will then look at Lazzarato, who explores the debtor creditor relationship arguing that everyone, in the neoliberal age, has become debtors through a process of subjectivation by their creditors. But is this the case?

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

This investigation performs a value analysis and an analysis of the conceptual frameworks provided by Eastern and Western spiritual doctrine through the concept’s divinity and transcendence.

Karl Marx’s A Critique of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’ (1970), and Plato’s Plato Repiblic I (1937) are employed as the primary tools into the search for the meaning of Eastern and Western spiritual doctrine, also providing frameworks through which the concept of spirituality can be understood.
This investigation concludes that Eastern spiritual doctrine has more real spiritual value than that of the West through providing a value-system orientated towards freedom and a ‘pure’ conceptual framework orientated towards truth. The concept of divinity in Eastern spiritual doctrine exudes oneness and reciprocity, whilst transcendence focuses on being and presence.
Western spiritual doctrine on the other hand is thought to be reducible to a Capitalist mechanism due to the orientation of control pertinent to its value system and implicitly motivated conceptual framework. Divinity in Western spiritual doctrine embodies oppressive instruction, and its transcendence is linked to Capitalist exploitation. This, then, puts into the nature of Western Reason for its embedding with such oppressive structures and frameworks.

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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

An Exploration of Female Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex. Does it make you uncomfortable? In this project, I explore the progression of attitudes towards sexuality through the different generations, where these attitudes came from, and how these attitudes developed.

Through George Bataille’s book, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, I explore where the taboo of sex may have begun and what impact this had upon attitudes towards embracing female sexuality. I also use Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Philosophy of Right to discuss the issues surrounding freedom of sexuality.

Through conducting my own research and analysing various books, articles and journals, I will reveal how our society is embracing the conversation surrounding sexuality.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Is there a fundamental destructive drive for people to self-starve themselves? Comparing historical asceticism and that of the modern day phenomenon ‘anorexia nervosa’ to help answer this question

Anorexia Nervosa, a harmful disease effecting an increasing number of people, relates to a distorted body image and an irrational fear of gaining weight. Whereby self-starvation and severe self-control of food is practiced in return for domination over one’s body and self in a world where they feel they have lost control.

My objective in this essay is to explore the possibility of there being a destructive internal drive that leads people to refrain from food. In order to create a comprehensive argument I will be considering anorexia nervosa in the territory of medieval asceticism and the cultures that surround them to help identify whether it is culturally triggered or it is in fact inherent in one’s self.

First I will consider Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right to outline his ideology on social identity being equally important as the will when it comes to moral behaviour.

Having scrutinised his philosophy I will be looking at both Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation to emphasis the impact of the ‘will to power ‘ that has over oneself.

Ultimately, I aim to prove that although culture plays a part in people’s behaviour, fundamentally there is an inner destructive drive, which is the same throughout the ages that drives the sufferers of anorexia nervosa to self-starvation.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

On Bunnies: An Interpretative Approach to Playboy in the Sphere of Art

The use of nude photography does not exclude a work from the sphere of art

Featured Articles

Rose: The Paradigm case of Pornography-Playboy does not possess the same explicit sexual characteristics of other ‘adult’ entertainment.
-In the production of Playboy, there is no violation of liberty or victim.

Noë: ‘strange tools’ -art is purely the subversion of function and purpose, that calls into question the surrounding presuppositions -Playboy does not have his same subversion intention.

Hegel- the closest instance to absolute truth within art is the human form “we must search out that in Nature which on its own merits
belongs to the essence and actuality of the mind…The human form is employed…exclusively as the existence and physical form correspond to themind” (Hegel, 2004)

2012 Abstracts Stage 2

Excessive Expenditure. An investigation into ‘the student experience’. Is university an opportunity for rebellion or another cultural norm?

Using Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and Philosophy of Mind, I have established the theory of Sittlichkeit and the State. The Sittlichkeit is the moral fabric of a society, founded on the historical development of social norms. Within a state, it is the basis of personal and societal morality. If we look at the student experience, it could be seen as part of modern society’s Sittlichkeit, a social norm in itself based around mutual interests and community.

The student experience: excessive drinking, late nights, unhealthy food, promiscuity.

We have urges for sacrifice and ritual not supported by society. Bataille says we must release these need through non-productive expenditure, concerned only with destruction and sacrifice. Bataille’s general economy is this cycle of production and destruction: both equally necessary. Applied to the student lifestyle, excessive behaviours are nothing more than a release of these urges through action for its own sake: non-productive.

2010 Abstracts Stage 2

Alienation. A Catalyst for Two Great Men

The picture that…….. …….changed a life

The Brechtian Theatre presents;
The Political Ideology of Karl Marx
Starring: Karl Marx and full supporting cast including Hegel & Kant, Engels, Sartre and Marcuse

2010 Abstracts Stage 3

Is a Capitalist Society the Best Form for Individual Choice?

What kind of dining set defines me as a person? – Fight Club, 1999. This quote from the American film Fight club, and various advertisements by IKEA makes one beg the question, do these systems of consumerism really provide the individual with freedom, or do they somehow take it away?

Hegel argues that civil society is the best form for which we can express our individuality and satisfy our particular needs and desires, he argues that the more needs and desires one has the freer they become because they can’t be so easily defined.

Sartre thinks that consumerism in modern society is detrimental to individual freedom, that although one may believe in free choice, corporations such as IKEA cause a person to lose their individual identity instead taking on an identity believed by society to be more suitable – one is no longer simply furnishing a room, but defining oneself as a person.

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

An Ethical Study into the Importance of the Autonomy of the Individual within Russian Society, before, during and after Communist Rule through a Dialogue with Aleksandr Solzhenitisyn’s “Cancer Ward”

Main Aim: In this project I aim to explore the changes in Russian politics and ideology from the Tsarist autocracy through to the information revolution that ultimately brought to an end the oppressive Communist regime affected by Josef Stalin. With respect to these changes I will look at how important the concept of the autonomy of the individual is in maintaining an ethical and moral way of life and how the autonomy and subsequent freedom of the individual was affected throughout these socio‐political changes. The use of Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Cancer Ward’ is particularly useful firstly because of the personal nature of his experience; he was arrested and put into forced labour for eight years before being confined to internal exile following criticism of Stalin in a personal letter. With regards to this, the semi‐autobiographical nature of the book allows a fictional insight into the workings of the Soviet State post Stalin with the authenticity of personal experience. Secondly, it provides a detailed insight into how the government treated individuals but also of how individuals treated each other while under the morally dubious Stalinist state. Philosophy: Kant – A major contributor to contemporary ethical thought the works of Kant had a significant effect on how the individual was thought of to be able to work out and make their own ethical decisions. It will be important to see how the autonomy of the individual changes under the communist and totalitarian Stalinist state. Marx/Hegel – the concepts of alienation and the abolition of private property from these two thinkers created the original structure around which Lenin’s communism would be built. Their thoughts on both subjects will require explanation. Sartre – His post war work meant his name became synonymous with existentialism, the absolute freedom with which we make our decisions contrasted harshly with the reality of Russia during the mid 20th Century where people often declined to make the correct ethical choice, or were altered to act in a way unbefitting a moral human being. His later writings reflect a more measured approach to the effects of one’s situation and I will explore his subsequent change in direction. Personal Considerations: This project has allowed me to explore an area of personal interest (Russian literature) combined with the aspects of philosophy I find most interesting. I have also been able to understand the link between society and philosophy more thoroughly and regarding this the importance that the individual plays in how he treats his fellow man, no matter how powerful or oppressive the government is.

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

To Whom are we Responsible?

Who can possibly be responsible for the two extreme eating disorders? The state, family, media and culture all have their parts to play. How do we know what is best for us?… If the state, family and individual all disagree? Parentalism – should an individual with an eating disorder be considered not fully rational and is this justification for some of that person’s right to freedom to be taken away, on the grounds that they would be ‘better off’. Hegel asserts that the individual’s highest freedom consists in membership in the state. BUT: Does society protect us?

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The Employee within the Labour Market

Key concept: Looking to the employee within the labour market and trying to determine the degree of freedom one has within this work environment. Main Objectives: Within this project I have reflected on the changing nature of employment and the employee within it, through initiating a direct comparison between the Industrial Revolution, Adam Smith and 21st century Britain. I have investigated the concept of labour with regards to how it is perceived; whether it be as a determined aspect of life or a practice which we choose to freely feature within our lives. I have highlighted the dramatic transformations between these two time frames and investigated the emancipation humanity has experienced particularly in relation to one’s work life balance and our freedom to negate different aspects of our careers. Philosophical Concepts: Hegel: A ‘philosopher of freedom’ who emphasised how we develop freedom and become united within a peaceful society through recognising each other’s existence. We can discover our ‘abstract right,’ and individuality through freedom, a human right which must not be infringed upon by others. Humans must use logic to attain absolute freedom within a rational state. We must create individual thought and put it to society for verification. At work we must respect one another and not use others to attain immoral, individual desires. His conception declares we are free and have the right to choose at work. Any submission to authority is voluntary because we have not identified our own freedom yet. Locke: Freedom focuses on living morally with others within society. Individual freedom relates to one’s ‘power to order actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit.’ Our freedom is contained within society’s laws, which aid our action and offer guidance. We own our labour and place it where we choose, to obtain property. We must contribute through work to sustain society. The labour theory of value claims we can recognise the efforts of one’s labour and creativity within all objects. We must abide by the spoilage and sufficiency principles, to ensure we maintain a minimum level for all around us and do not violate their rights; upholding equality and mutual respect is a duty of humanity. Marx: Argues against capitalism, which encourages separation, alienation and further develops the distinctions between the proletariat and bourgeois. Communism is the apparent solution, to equalising humanity and preventing production dominating all aspects of life. Capitalism ensures work takes over one’s life and turns the worker into a commodity, an easily disposable dehumanised product. The labour theory of value shows how individual labour is not paid in relation to production; the object’s price is significantly higher than the worker’s wage. Freedom comes when we realise the negatives of capitalism and reform the economic system; hence we are not truly free within work. Personal Change/ Development: My project has allowed me to critically evaluate the concept of labour and relate it directly to two distinct time periods. It has allowed me to further my historical knowledge on the Individual Revolution and the conceptions prevalent within that period. Also it has allowed me to collect research on human rights and break it down to communicable points of reference. I have been able to look to three distinct philosophers and tie in their conceptions, regarding our freedom in the labour market, to provide a rounded summary of opinions. I have had to assess their applicability and work within their theories to determine their potential thoughts on this topic. Sources: The Philosophy of Right by Hegel. The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke. Communist Manifestos by Karl Marx. Article research and literary discussions of employee rights.

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Man and Machine: from Communication to Miscommunication

Territory: I have chosen to explore the power and impact of electronic devices that act as mediators when we perceive the world. I will focus on the way in which the position of the ‘subject’ is continually shifting in this increasingly technological and mediated society. Questions that need addressing: I wish to discover the shift in the material condition of humanity and how communication systems and technology have changed the role of the individual within the world, and thus the way we live, learn and interact with each other. Questions that necessitate investigation include: what is knowledge and truth if all information is mediated through several networks? This will lead to a discussion of whether mediated knowledge in any way deflects from the final product or image, that is to say whether it makes digital information and knowledge less authentic or second rate in anyway. To open this territory up for philosophical investigation I am going to look at the notion of presence and absence and what it means to be present as a human being using the philosophers Heidegger and Derrida, and whether there are different levels of being, in relation to mediated reality as proposed by some thinkers. In addition, I am going to use the concepts of authenticity and simulation and apply them to media by looking at Baudrillard and Debord. Key thinkers and sources: The main sources of my research will lie within the philosophical thought of Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger and Jean Baudrillard. I will also be drawing upon the ideas of G. W. F. Hegel and the modern sociologist Mark Poster.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Why do many people risk their lives for the thrill of surfing?

Territory: This project will focus on the development of surfing from its roots in Hawaiian culture to the position we find it in today. The key points in this progression will provide indications of the motivating factors behind the world’s top surfers. Object: • Kelly Slater – 8 Time world champion and arguably the greatest competitive surfer of all time • Laird Hamilton – Big wave pioneer who helped develop tow-in surfing Philosophy: The work of Hobbes and Hegel will form the foundation of the philosophical content. Hobbes’ social theory will help to place surfing in context with the ever changing situations that are a result of the cultures we experience. However, his concept of the state of nature in which we find humans stripped down to their most primitive form provides a strong argument to suggest extreme sports such as surfing are irrational and unnecessarily dangerous. The analysis of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit will provide an alternative approach to nature of risk taking.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

The Change of Social Values over the last 100 years as Demonstrated in Advertising

Territory: Beer advertisements. Object: Carlsberg advertisements. Aim: The aim of my personal project is to show the changing attitudes and social values of the early 20th century society as opposed to our contemporary society. I have decided to show this using the marketing of beer. I also intend to point out how these represent the introduction of “Lad Culture” which became apparent in British society during the 1990’s along with ‘lads’ magazines such as maxim, FHM and Loaded as well as TV shows such as ‘men behaving badly’. It also shows a distinct change in attitude towards the consumption of alcohol in general; the development of the binge drinking culture that is so prevalent in today’s youthful society. I also believe these adverts show a distinct decline in the strong family values that we saw in the first half of the 20th century. I will thus talk about Hegel’s view of family values and compare them to that of a lesser known modern philosopher, David Cooper’s, works called ‘The death of Family’.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

How is the Relationship Between Student and Teacher Comparable to that of Hegel’s Lord and Bondsman Model?

Territory: My initial study took place in Saint Walburga’s Catholic Primary School, in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. I spent time within the school and particular classrooms collating information and observing the interactions between students and teachers. Aims: I aim to consider the relationships between students and teachers within the education system. I will look at the notion of dependency within this relationship and consider whether the teacher and/or student are dependent on the other. Also key to my study is the question of freedom in education and whether either student or teacher holds the most freedom. I will look to the paradox of teaching and learning and how this need not prevent teaching or learning, provided that both teacher and student willingly risk a power relationship of mastery and dependence. Philosophers and Sources: The majority of my study uses Hegel’s lord and bondsman dialectic, as found within in his Phenomenology of Spirit. However I wish to undertake an exploration of the master/slave relation beyond the Phenomenology of Spirit through the ideas of Educational Theorist Nigel Tubbs.

2005 Abstracts Stage 2

Primary School to University: Philosophy of Education

Science behind the teaching: Learning modalities; performance standards; causal relationships; systematic enquiry. Hegellan Schooling. Primary school : “Thesis” (Building blocks of knowledge) Secondary school : “Antithesis” (Reflection and cultivation) College and Uni : “Synthesis” (Facts in and of themselves) Does being “free” mean being dependant on the influence on institutions?