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

Assess the impact that Natural Law Theory and Legal Positivism have had on shaping the English Legal System from the 13th Century to Present day

Object/Territory – The concept of Law, how Natural Law Theory and Legal Positivism have shaped the English Legal System
Aim – Through a historical account I aim to provide a historical account of both Natural Law Theory and Legal Positivism in order to assess the impact that they have had on shaping the modern English Legal System
Main Sources – Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Austin, H. L. A Hart

In this essay I shall explore the very concept of law and morality as I look at the very concept of law, morality and how law is applied in order to argue that Natural Law Theory and Legal Positivism are the main driving forces behind the formation of a distinct English Legal System.

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 2

A collapse of morality in Nazi Germany

This is an analysis of the collapse in morality that was seen throughout Germany in the 1940s under Nazi rule. I have taken the perspective of looking at Nazi evil through the actions of Josef Mengele throughout his time at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Throughout my dissertation, I have explained exactly what it is that Mengele, nicknamed the Angel of Death, is renowned for; essentially beginning with his passion for eugenics – the beginning of his Nazi career at least

The barbarity of his actions is something that is analysed throughout my dissertation using Hannah Arendt’s report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann to evaluate the gravity of Mengele’s attitude and by extension the actions of leading Nazi superiors; for though I have focused on some of Mengele’s actions more specifically, I mean the purpose of this to be ultimately reflective of all Nazi figures that held any part in the systematic persecution and murder of millions of European Jews in the 1940s.

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

What is Technology?

I wish to claim that technology is not what man uses to master nature, but a philosophy of  history ­ a way of looking at the world or a way of life.      

The aim of my project was to trace the history of technology in order to establish a definition of its essence that is  consistent across time.  

Heidegger argued that technology is a means of exploiting nature, reducing it to “standing reserve” which we can draw upon as we desire it. Further, he argued that modern technology reduces man to standing reserve and that we  should be sceptical of it.  

In response to his argument I explored the thought of Marcuse and Feenberg who both suggest that technology is defined more by its social elements than by its function.  

Finally, I explored the future of technology, specifically artificial intelligence, and considered which, if any, definition of the essence of technology I explored remains applicable.     

Main Sources: 
The Questioning Concerning Technology by  Heidegger, One­ Dimensional Man by Marcuse, and Questioning  Technology by Feenberg. 

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

Who Controls the Past Controls the Future, Who Controls the Present Controls the Past. A Discussion into the Manipulation of History in Relation to Power in Orwell’s 1984

The Novel
Big Brother, Continuous war, ever present government surveillance, mind control, eradication of independent thought, manipulation of history and written record

Power in its third dimension:
Being complicit in one’s own domination
Ideologies are promoted; the masses are forced to believe that what they think is in their interests are furthering the interests of those in power

Culture and knowledge are liberating; culture makes an individual rational
The course of history is governed through a development of ‘progress’
Progress toward emancipation and empowerment

Crisis in modernity; loss of belief in metanarratives
Power is maintained through a manipulation of historical record
no one can ‘know’ anything anymore; the interests of those in power are maintained

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

The Transformation of Japan. A Philosophical Investigation of Japanese Cultural Change

Japan today is a nation synonymous with contemporary culture and ambitious technology that tries to transform the way in which we live. However, it is hard to imagine that just over a century ago; Japan was in the midst of a massive change which saw it go from a country of feudal military foundations to an industrious world power which would contribute to world history in a substantial way. This project aims to look at the History of Japan over the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s and see how this event was the catalyst which caused a nation to turn its back on 800 years of uniform history and become a contending power on the world stage. The cultural principles of Japan at this time shall lead me to look at the post war writer Yukio Mishima, whose ideas on the culture of Japan after World War II provoked him to write some of the most defining Japanese literature of the 20th Century. Ultimately, his views in this area led to his highly publicised ritual suicide in 1970 prior to which he tried to start a coup against the new media based, industrial Japan. To link this project philosophically, I shall be referring the ideas of Mishima to those of Georges Bataille, who Mishima himself had a fascination with. Bataille’s theories brought forward notions related to sacrifice within a culture. This includes specifically the concept of Potlatch, wherein Native American tribal chiefs would appease opposing leaders by destroying resources and objects of value. With this in mind, I shall show how the Japanese transformation was a Potlatch on a grand scale, and how Mishima was a microcosm of this in the 20th Century. The conclusion of this project will come to the point where justification of Japan’s change will be shown.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Cultural Segregation within Contemporary Cities: a look at Ghettoisation

The title of my project came from watching the film ‘The Pianist’ which graphically depicts the ghettoisation of Warsaw between 1939 and 1942. The film highlighted the complex issues that cultural segregation presents to society and it soon became apparent that the subject held enough significance to use it as a base for my stage two project. I began my investigation of cultural segregation with a look at the history of the ghetto paying particular attention to three examples; firstly I looked at the Warsaw ghetto and segregation of the Jewish population of the city in the Second World War. Secondly I examined the development of the projects of Chicago and their gradual decline. Finally I looked at the Muslim population of cities within the UK and the problems that have arisen from large scale immigration. Within my territory of ghettoisation I identified three main philosophical concepts; 1. Racial Discrimination 2. The Struggle for Identity 3. Strength in Numbers. By studying the theories of Hobbes and Hegel I managed to apply philosophical thought to my concepts. Paying particular attention to Hobbes theory of ‘The State of Nature’ and Hegel’s argument for social unity, succeeded in finding significant arguments within the theorists’ work which applied to the issues raised by the cultural segregation. In conclusion I make a brief summary of what I have managed to achieve during my investigation and offer a personal perspective on the overall reality of ghettoisation and what it suggests about human nature.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

How has the Indian Caste System Changed from its Origin to the Modern Day?

In 2005 I spent four months teaching in India and fell in love with this beautiful and dynamic country. I spent the majority of my time living in a village in northern India and what shocked me the most was how such a spiritual country could hold such beliefs on class discrimination. I also noticed how the caste system was not so prevalent in the cities and by talking to people I met I found out that the caste system had a deep and complicated history. Therefore I have found this study on the caste system fascinating because I have managed to apply my research to my own experience of India. I have started this project by looking at possible origins of the caste system and then looking at how strict and rigid the caste system was in early India. The main change that I have focused on in is after WW11 and when Gandhi, who was a spiritual and political leader of India, bought India to independence. In the heart of the project I have shown how Gandhi liberated the strict caste system and how this has affected modern India. Finally I have compared Gandhi’s teachings to the philosophy of Nietzsche and his work “On the Genealogy of Morals,” which demonstrates how he believes that a caste system should be apparent in all societies.

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

A Capitalist End of History? A study into universal history theory

Territory: The Collapse of the Soviet Union. Theorists: Kant, Hegel and Fukuyama. Philosophical Concepts: Universal History, End of History and Progress. Within this project I have discussed the idea that the collapse of the Soviet Union has brought an end to history. This was the theory put forward by Francis Fukuyama in his 1989 Article ‘The End of History.’ This idea is rooted in the idea of a universal history, it does not suggest that there is an end of events, it suggests that the development or evolution of society has reached its final phase with the Capitalist Liberal Democracy. Fukuyama relies on Hegel for much of his inspiration, the evolution of society follows Hegelian Dialectics, essentially a thesis being overturned by an antithesis, then a synthesised thesis is produced until another antithesis is created. For Kant history is bounded in morality, progressing from a state of nature towards a universal cosmopolitan state. Kant believes that man’s asocial sociability forces the individual to develop towards civilised society, ultimately allowing freedom under external laws within a republican constitution. I have looked at this idea of Kantian Progress in relation to Gorbachev’s restructuring (Perestroika) of the Soviet Union. Progress can also be seen looking at the development of political systems, towards a system which values the autonomous individual, and believes in representative rule of the people.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

How are Old Japanese Institutions Revitalised in Contemporary Japanese Culture?

Aim: To explore how archaic traditions have been resurrected to suit contemporary circumstances with respect to the concept of ‘shell institutions,’ looking specifically at the Japanese Samurai caste and the code of the Bushido. Areas to be explored: -The history and practises of the Samurai -Bushido- the philosophy and codes of conduct of the Samurai, as well as the sources from which Bushido blossomed. -The development of Bushido, and its leading thinkers. – Parallels with Western philosophy. -The demise of the Samurai caste and its subsequent revitalisation.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

Paris: How Have Structural Changes Influenced the City to become Paris, the City of Love?

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction to Study, Background to Study CHAPTER TWO: Paris: A History, The Medieval History, Renaissance and Baroque, Enlightenment, Napoleon to the Revolution and Restoration, Romantic City and Haussmann, Republican Age, Paris and Art Nouveau with World War II Modernity, Modern Paris, Purism, Cubism, Industrialisation and High Tec CHAPTER THREE: Love and Romance CHAPTER FOUR: Specific Investigation of Individual Structures, Notre Dame, The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower CHAPTER FIVE: Conclusion Sources: Romantic Paris Thirza Vallois 2003, Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris David Pinkney 1938, Paris Robert Cole 2002, The Emerging City Leon Bernard 1970, Architect’s Guide to Paris Salvadori Renzo 1990, Visits: Paris: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, Trip down the River Seine

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

How has modernism and post modernism affected places of public entertainment, such as the theatres in and around Newcastle?

Explain what modernism is and how philosophers have described modernism and the way it produced post modernism. 2. A conclusion as to what I conclude postmodernism to be after reading and exploring philosopher’s notes. 3. How does modernism and post modernism affect the architecture? 4. Choose examples in and around Newcastle and Gateshead that I can compare and explore as to whether they have been affected by modernism and postmodernism. 5. Visit the few places of interest and explore their history. 6. Conclude as to whether modernism and post modernism has actually affected those areas that I have chosen to explore. SOURCES: Books: The theatres royal in Newcastle upon Tyne – Oswald Capitalism and Modernity – Goody The post modern and the post industrial – M.A Rose Post modernity – Barry Smart Max Weber and Post-modern theory – N.Gane Social and Cultural Forms of Modernity – B. Bocock And K.Thompson Visits: Gateshead Visitor Centre – The Sage, Gulbenkian Theatre, Theatre Royal – Grey Street