2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Finding Peace in a Frantic World: A Critique of Mindfulness using David Foster Wallace’s talk ‘This is Water’

Project Aims
To argue Foster Wallace’s popular talk This is Water highlights Mindfulness as an ideology.

Foster Wallace highlights how Mindfulness key aspect of its thought believes in a Kantian autonomous/individualistic/ a-historical subject transcendental subject.

Implicates argument within the social context – Mindfulness is an antidote to stressful neo-liberal conditions

Economically and ideologically productive system of thought – 3.72 trillion dollar industry

Ideologically repressive – It blames you for your mental health problems!

Could Mindfulness be self destructive?

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

Are we Naturally Self-Seeking Individuals, or does Society make us that Way?

Territory: My Territory is the Credit Crunch, from which I am looking into whether humans, as a race, are naturally self seeking individuals, or whether society impacts and influences us, making us this way. Concepts: The two concepts that I have chosen to analyse and examine are Thomas Hobbes’s theory of self seeking individuals within the State of Nature, with Charles Taylor and Friedrich Nietzsche’s theories of social philosophy. Our current economic climate created for me many questions about how we were able to get into the financial mess that we have. So I chose to investigate how and why consumers have become obsessed by materialistic possession, to the extreme extent that they are prepared to get into debt because of it. I believe that our recent economic crisis has arisen due to consumer spending and the change in political power. Therefore I began my project by comparing and analyzing the change in governmental power over the last 30 years, whilst researching the causes and effects of the credit crunch – because I feel that these two issues are interrelated – in the hope that I was able to find a correlation between the election of a new political power and the change in societies spending habits that led to the credit crunch. To support this belief I firstly looked at Charles Taylor, who believes that identity is socially constructed and dependent. This combined with Nietzsche, who saw the self as becoming and forever changing, supports my theory that society, trends and governmental power impacts individuals actions, which I have taken to include spending habits. To oppose this argument I analysed Thomas Hobbes who believes that individuals are naturally, selfish and competitive, because each only seeks to preserve and to strengthen themselves. I have advanced this theory to support the idea that humans are still selfish and competitive today, so what someone else has, they want. It is our new survival technique. Conclusion: I have concluded that society is now a combination of the two. Evolving as a species we have brought our selfish and competitive nature with us, which I believe has been propelled by societies, governments and trends to cause buying to become our modern day method of self preservation. Key Philosophical Source: Hobbes, Thomas (1985) Leviathan; Taylor, Charles (1989) Sources of The Self, The Making of the Modern Identity; Nehamas, Alexander (1985) Nietzsche, Life as Literature

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Investigation into the Loss of the Individual within the Modern Identity

Territory: I have chosen to consider the individual through the concept of identity within contemporary society in order to ascertain whether it has truly been ‘lost.’ I also want to consider through this that if it has been lost, what has caused this, and is this necessarily a bad thing? What does it mean to be individual today? Areas of Investigation: I will explore the relationship between the individual and society by looking at the evolution of the individual and what it has meant to be individual. Change: I will compare my territory to the Elizabethan period in the 1600s, as the affect religion and the monarchy had on the individual and on shaping identity compared to nowadays will provide an interesting point of difference. I will also explore why this has changed, and the effects of this change. Philosophical Ideas and Concepts: I will use the work of both Adorno and Levinas to explore my territory within the concept of identity. Adorno focused upon critiquing the concept of identity thinking by exploring it through the way individuals and objects can be subsumed under cover concepts. I will use this to explore what enables this to occur and what in fact happens when people are subsumed, such that it will provide information about what constitutes the individual, and how it could be lost. I will specifically look at his work regarding the Holocaust, where people were subsumed under the concepts of vermin or as merely scientific tools I will also consider Levinas’ work in regards to the Other in order to explore my territory in opposition to Adorno’s ideas. Levinas’ Other will demonstrate the importance of defining the individual in relation to society through the Other. Conclusions: I seek to show that identity can be both fixed and fluid such is the nature of society, our modern identity and our relationship to it.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

An individual and their power can account for the transition from the traditional Renaissance architecture to the dynamic Baroque architecture. Is this a fair statement for Praque in the 16th and 17th centuries?

Prague is my chosen place for the study of my project and the development of architecture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The architecture is a mix of all time periods and have al been preserved, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque are just some of the styles that can be seen. I am focusing on the Renaissance to Baroque period and the reason for the architectural transition. Along with this transition and the reasons behind it there is the main theme of individuality and power and how these characteristics may have helped the process of Renaissance to Baroque. The individuals that could have the kind of power needed to influence a change in style are emperors, religious leaders, architects and the aristocracy. But how do these individuals use their power to influence others? Can style really be changed through the will of one person? These questions lead to an investigation of individualism and its impact and influence on others. The main buildings I am exploring are the Renaissance Beldevere, a summerhouse, built for Queen Ann, the Baroque Wallenstein Palace, the Baroque St. Nicholas Church and the cathedral of St. Vitus. These buildings are interesting to compare and contrast so as to get a real feel for the different periods and stages of development. The Belvedere- 1535-63, Renaissance Summerhouse built for Queen Anne. The idea of an individual being responsible for the development in architecture is possible but unlikely so there must be other reasons. These are blunted sensibility, advancement of architectural tools and abilities, the need for new art to admire and the natural development of style. All these have to be discussed in order to find which is most likely to have had the most influence. Religion is also a key factor in the development as the transition may be connected to the Thirty Years War and this would mean limitations or requirements were needed to be seen on buildings in order to promote or demote certain religious beliefs. Sources The Architecture of Prague and Bohemia- Brain Knox, Renaissance and Baroque – Heinrich Wolfflin, The Thirty Years War- Stephen Lee, Space, Time and Architecture- Sigfried Giedion, Rudolf II and Prague: the court and the city- Eliska Fucov, Also a study of the buildings themselves in Prague.

2003 Abstracts Stage 2

To establish whether or not a sense of place can create a moral/ideological culture of resistance to a dominant liberal individual culture

1) In the book of change I want to briefly discuss the philosophic possibilities between the concept of a particular place and the ideology or philosophic approach of the people who inhabit that particular space. 2) My approach (and this is the one I intend to follow for the extended essay) is to divide the subject into the following 4 sections: A. A sense of place and the problems associated with this concept. B. The dialectical relationship between the place and the people who live and work there. C. The philosophic or ideological issues, which arise upon the basis of this relationship. D. Some critical reflections. I have considered basing my study on the East End of London. This is a place, which has almost entered popular folklore for a variety of reasons ranging from notorious crime/criminals (Jack the Ripper/The Krays) to its allegedly heroic defiance of Hitler’s bombers during the Second World War. Yet when we use a phrase like the East End precisely what do we mean? In fact even in the most limited sense the area is vast ranging from Spitalfield/Liverpool Street at its far western fringe; to Poplar/Limehouse in the South; to Hackney/Walthamstow in the North; to Stratford/Leytonstone in the East. The area covered is an astonishing 100 square miles and the population is 2 _ million. This is about twenty times greater is size than Newcastle/Sunderland combined with a population 6 times greater. One obvious problem with an approach like mine is: can we state definitively that such an area has common features? Surely there is such diversity within this vast area that there can be no single ideological or philosophic project identifiable in the area. There may be a multiplicity of philosophies possibly competing approaches – but one approach. This is something I intend to explore. It was Marx who once famously remarked that without people there is no history. Certainly as diverse / colourful the East End is, it does not get its character. History / ideology from buildings / the river / parks / streets etc. Its philosophy comes from the people. Again can there be a common approach from 2 _ million people consisting of ordinary working class people / middle class liberal intellectuals / a smaltering of revolutionary socialists / similarly small numbers of Ultra Right activists / small time crooks, gangsters, hard men as well as people from just about every country in the world. Again we shall see. If a common philosophy can arise what exactly can it be? Arguably it takes a myriad of forms but probably includes: A. A sense of difference from the rest of London based not only on geography but factors like working class solidarity / common sacrifice and deprivation etc. B. Thus a kind of ‘them and us’ approach brings out a sense of moral rage against ‘outsiders’. C. Arguably it also takes different forms for example a refusal to accept bourgeois ‘legality’ and a refusal to accept that certain kinds of crime especially property are real crimes. D. This may even inform the radical political tradition in the area. One sees deprivation at first hand and decides only a radical approach can challenge it.