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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Should Ethics be Considered when Using a Scientific Discovery?

In this project I am using the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton as my territory and focus on the character of John Hammond and his desire to recreate an extinct species. I will explore the ethical implications involving scientific knowledge in a postmodern world. I am going to look at Jurassic Park and show that once Hammond starts creating dinosaurs it becomes a social labour. Once this happens without ethical restraints chaos can ensue. I will begin with an overview of the story, I will then explain how the story shows that an independent enquiry becomes a social labour when Hammond’s team start creating dinosaurs, and as a result their actions affect other people. Once I have shown this the need for an ethical theory to restrict social, (in this case of Hammond’s recreation of dinosaurs) will become clear. I will consider whether two different ethical theories would have allowed Jurassic Park. The ethical theories I will consider applying will be Mill’s Utilitarianism and Kant’s Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives. The reason I have chosen to explore these is because one is teleological and the other is deontological. I will compare and contrast the opposing theories and evaluate whether either can provide a good model for making ethical decisions with reference to social labour. I will then add a brief summary of what I have discussed.

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2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Fairy Tales: the Moral Implications we Teach our Children

SHOULD WE AS ADULTS STILL FIND MERIT IN THE MORAL LESSONS FOUND IN FAIRY TALES? KANT: The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales also coincided with the rise of Kantian thought, which taught us of the autonomous self. Anderson had switched the audience of fairy tales from both adults and children to just children. At the same time, Immanuel Kant was writing to argue for the autonomy of rational agents. The co-incision of the two shows a relationship that I shall investigate as it seems to be more than a coincidence that the two coincide. HAPPILY EVER AFTER? We have seen that the ethical value of fairy tales can either be embraced or dismissed depending upon which theory of morality you decide to follow, however is there anything else fairy tales can teach us? One of the most valuable things that fairy tales in their original form gave their audience was hope. MACINTYRE: One person in particular who would not agree with Kant’s opinion is Alisdair MacIntyre. MacIntyre’s theory of ethics and morality focuses on what is virtuous. ‘Virtue ethics’ is a type of moral philosophy that centres around a person’s character rather than rules or consequences. MacIntyre felt that the language and concepts of modern ethical theory are inappropriate as modern ethics are fragmented from so many different traditions or theories. A fairy tale is a piece of fiction that usually features characters found in folklore such as witches, trolls, fairies, and ogres. The phrase is also used as an adjective to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, for example, a fairy tale ending or fairy tale romance. But because not all fairy tales, especially in their original translation, necessarily end happily, it has also come to be used to refer to any far-fetched story, which may or may not include actual fairies. It is also worth noting that originally, fairy tales were told for the entertainment of adults as well as children.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 2

The Changing Nature of Education

Key concepts: University education system, changes in teaching methods, the idea behind university, vocational elements to further education, course structure and the general university institution set up/structure. Object and territory: The object-Is represented by the student; the student represents the consumer of the territory and is essentially the most affected and involved aspect of the movements occurring within the university education system. Within my project I have looked to the student with regards to how they are affected by changing teaching methods, different forms of institution, funding issues, course structure changes, employability aspects and government incentives etc. The territory- Is Newcastle University; this institution gives me an example of a 19th century university which offers various types of degree. In order to use this university within my project I researched into the history and future of the institution in terms of the significant changes that were either planned or has already occurred. The university was essentially used as a representative for universities nationally, because my project homes in more generally to university systems as a whole rather than one specific university. This is possible because the issues and transformations that have occurred for Newcastle are typically apparent within all universities nationally. Research methods: In order to research my topic I used a variation of methods, most of my research coming from newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, books and experience of my course itself. I also looked to the ‘Idea of a university’ put forward by John Newman in order to gain some perspective on what originally made a university; this allowed me to compare the postmodern ideas of education to a previous account of what a university institution originally represented. Essentially I wanted my research to focus on the major changes that were occurring within university education and I wanted to highlight these for individuals in order for them to note the possible future that may exist within the university system. The change: Within my project in terms of research into the university I am looking to its origins in comparison with today’s situation. This is a broad time spectrum hence obviously within this time scale I will be focussing more on the modern and contrasting it back to make the changes apparent. I also want to bring in the postmodern and consider the future of university education which will tie in specifically with Lyotard and my considerations over the possibility of computerised learning. Philosophical concepts: Within my project I want to tie in 3 key thinkers with regards to the focus of my project. Initially I will bring in the more general thinkers, Kant and Mill. Kant who will emphasise the importance of learning essentially because we are rational beings and it can be seen as a benefit to educate because it allows man to become ‘man.’ We have a duty to be educated within the world and to use this to continue to act rationally and essentially make good actions to display goodness in society. Hence my ideas on Kant will tie in with the more traditional methods of teaching which emphasis moral training. Then I will bring in Mill that will focus on the utility principle and claim education is always correct and beneficial regardless of its methods, if it benefits society and this is clearly apparent when we consider the needs of the labour market and the emphasis on low unemployment. Finally I will bring Lyotard and his ideas on the inhuman and tie them in closely with the changing teaching methods of education specifically to computer learning or Open University degrees where everything is done via a computer. Personal change/ development: I feel I have through my project developed a wide variation of skills especially my organisation and research skills; this project has ensured that I work to deadlines and collect sufficient information to ensure I produce a good end product. I have been allowed to investigate something interesting to me that I otherwise would not have had the time to look to in depth. It has taught me about the institution of which I am part of and has given me insight into something particularly relevant to myself. I can use my findings in the future to explain myself and my degree in greater detail than before undergoing this project.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 2

How Free are We?

Territory: ∗ For my Project territory I chose to look at the work of Derren Brown, I chose this territory because I was interested in exploring the idea of free will, and the influence of others over our free will. I considered that Derren Brown is a perfect example of another human being having a strong influence over someone else’s actions. Concepts: ∗ The concepts I chose to explore were the influence of other people on our free will and consequently how much freedom do we actually have? Philosophical ideas and Objectives: ∗ My exploration of the concept of freedom lead me to examine the work of various philosophers including Kant, using in particular the ‘Categorical Imperative’ taken from his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. ∗ After this examination I hope to be able to conclude whether or not we free and consequently responsible for our actions.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Climate Change or Attitude Change? An exploration of man’s fragile relation to nature, past, present and future

Climate change has become the issue that defines our age. It makes man’s detrimental relationship with his environment undeniable. The planet is warming up and is becoming uninhabitable for large parts of its population, and assuming that the science is correct, our activities are to blame. Territory: Climate change. Thinkers: Kant, Heidegger, Adorno. Aim: The aim of my project was to try and understand the development of man’s relation to nature, from mystical nature through to instrumental nature, in the hope of figuring out where we might have gone wrong, and what we can do about it.

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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.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Aesthetics: from Creativity to Consumer Response

RKCR/Y&R (territory) has placed itself as the leading strategy within advertisement and marketing. TV commercials give maximum consumer response by using techniques that have been developed over the past sixty years. But how does the advertiser compel it’s target market to buy/ support a product? By means of market research a creative team can generate ideas from on statistics based on consumer needs. A transition from scientific method to artistic creativity takes place, from idea to screen attention to detail allows a campaign to become the centre of a product launch. If a idea is successful the return can be impressive. The M&S food campaign (object) is a perfect example of the results that can be achieved when a campaign is successful. The way an individual processes the information from screen and associates this with a product is the importance of this study, how can the creative department develop a campaign that will mentally intrigue its audience? Can psychology or philosophical ideas give an insight into the thought processes behind advertisement? Kantian thought can help us understand how the advertiser connects to the consumer. Free play for Kant allows the categories of the mind to be influenced by outside concepts; Kant speaks of music and art. Just as a piece of fine art can spark the imagination, this is how in Kantian theory the advertiser reaches the consumer. The advertiser essentially uses imagination as a tool to ‘communicate’ the product to the consumer. Kant’s work influences the ideas and philosophical concepts that this project discusses concerning the mental faculties of the consumer. This project uses Hume’s work connects the consumer and the creative thinker within advertisement. Hume speaks of how ideas are copied from impressions, in short Hume argues that the human imagination, idea’s, cognitive attributes are all part of our physical being. Hume highly supports this project’s research on ’the creative idea’. This project is concerned with how the human mind perceives external influences, and also how the mind has the ability to use the imagination as a means to an end. This study has centred M&S food as its example rather than interest. What is most important is the research into human understanding and the different faculties that are involved between the consumer and a product. TV commercials have many different levels, messages, objectives and specifications, the importance is the TV COMMERCIALS ABILITY TO USE THE HUMAN MIND AS A MARKETING TOOL.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Love, Honour and Obey? Sexuality, intimacy, love and the family

Territory – Relationships, marriage and the family unit. Empirical Research – Government stats, art and literature. Philosophers – Kant, Hegel, Giddens. Concepts – Kant saw marriage a sexual contract, Hegel as an amalgamation of love and law, Giddens as unnecessary in the postmodern. My argument – Many see the emancipation of women and the sexual liberation of the sixties as causing chaos and the breakdown of the family. I will argue that harking back to nostalgic phantasms is a poor reflection of true reality and that one must ride with the times and embrace the pure relationship based on choice, freedom and intimacy.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 2

The Impact of Surrealism on Art Culture from Renaissance-Surrealism … Beauty, the Sublime and Autonomy

How has surrealism changed the way we can look at “art” and how has art changed since its “rebirth” in the 16th century Italian Renaissance? Kant’s notion of art posed against the Surrealist Philosophy using the object of Un Chien Andalou. Critically comparing this form of art against the notions of the Renaissance period assessing the emergence of the fascination with the Sublime in Surrealism from the typical Beauty in Renaissance. Philosophers and Artists: I shall be involving the philosophers Kant and Breton in discussing the merit of art and surrealism, as well as the Artists Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and various Renaissance artists. I shall also involve insights from the work of Sigmund Freud.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Representing Nature

How is nature represented and how is this important to our attitudes towards it? My project aims to explore this question in the hope that one reading it will be able to assess each representation and its implications and in turn assess the way nature is represented today. It is clear that attitudes have a long way to go even in our current climate but why and how are they to change? This project will look at different representations to assess this. From the Romantics with Kant and Coleridge’s notion of nature as the sublime, to the postmodern viewpoint of Heidegger and his theory of technology, to the current attitude we find ourselves today with contemporary philosophers such as Michele Serres. Hopefully attitudes will change to ensure a secure future for nature and this project aims to assess what this attitude may be.

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2006 Abstracts Stage 3

The Golden Rule of Ethics

Territory- My territory is Western Society moving from the time of Ancient Greek philosophers through to postmodernist philosophers. Objectives- I asked myself a series of questions, these were as follows 1 “What is the golden rule of ethics and why is it so important?” 2 “Where does our ideas of morality and the idea of reciprocity come from?” 3 “Does the golden rule still apply?” 4 “Is there really a moral framework of ethical conduct prevalent within our society?” 5 “With the changes that can be seen within our society, can a moral framework based upon an ancient idea of reciprocity continue to work?” My aim in answering these questions was to use the works of Aristotle, Kant and Lyotard to chart a change in the ideas of ethics through time.

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2005 Abstracts Stage 2

The Comparison of Individual Fashion Ideals from the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Fashion has changed dramatically between the Eighteenth and Twentieth centuries, however it is not simply the changes that the inventors of fashion have made to the clothes, but all the social and political aspects that have occurred between these times. The changes have altered how we see ourselves, our self-identity, and how we see others. Modernity “ thinks of society as in a state of constant flux, innovation and development as changes in knowledge and technology alter the identities and experiences of individuals and communities” Lyotard, Kant and Freud are the main philosophers explored, looking closely at the ideas of modernity and postmodernity, with particular interest in the sublime: “With The sublime, the response is more complex. One is simultaneously attracted and repelled by the object, enthralled by it and also horrified.” Sources: Questionnaires, Internet, Book – ‘Jean-Francois Lyotard’ By Simon Malapas

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2004 Abstracts Stage 3

Does Art Contain Universal Concerns that are Applicable to our Existence?

It was Marcel Duchamp who invented the notion ‘art can be anything.’ By looking at the influences through a time shift starting from the Renaissance through to contemporary times examine exactly how true this revolutionary statement is or whether it is a matter of shock value that the Artist of today wants to put across, whereby the skill in drawing and painting has undoubtedly been lost. My aim is to explore the notion ‘art can be anything’ through three different time periods Renaissance, Baroque and Contemporary. The first will be the Renaissance (the early fifteenth century) which focuses on the issues of function and purpose of art. A major criticism with the youth of contemporary art today is the lack of knowledge towards the primitive foundations of art. This knowledge has been replaced with abstract ideas and theories about what art should and should not be. I used various influential names in my introduction to sketch an overall outline to the subject of art. Plato emphasises the ‘capacity of art to perfect nature, to correct in the mind of man the deficiencies of nature.’1 Wollheim and Panofsky said that only humans make art whereas Sir Philip Sidney said ‘The artist often creates things such as never were in nature.’ As a result, given the differing attitudes towards this particular subject the point is made that art is a matter of personal opinion. Using the theory of Utilitarianism I tried to use a system where the individual could categorise high and low art. It was Mill who said that a higher pleasure was one that stimulated the mind. Was it then possible to use this Utilitarian system within art? The higher pleasures of the mind are without doubt more desirable and valuable than those of lower pleasure of the body. Taking this approach the appearance or aesthetic value of a modern piece of art becomes worthless and what becomes important are the effects on the viewer. Utilitarianism is a teleological theory where the consequences are important. In some cases within modern art i.e. conceptualism, the effect can be sublime. Looking at the intention of the artist using Kant’s system of ‘means ends reasoning’ I wanted to look at what makes the moral motive a ‘pure’ motive. This is a disinterested one and it is solely based on the fact that we are motivated to act on the moral law by the moral law itself and not by some self-interested end. The idea of universality is used by Kant to support a theory of moral reasoning. Thus, we are to ask whether our maxim is one we can expect all rational agents to adopt in relatively similar circumstances. Using this Kantian system, the intentions of modern day artists like David Blaine and Damien Hurst were closely examined. I stated that it was the intention of Damien Hurst to shock his audience rather than to please. Consequently, Hurst’s works like the ‘shark’ was viewed as aesthetically poor but led to fame and fortune due to him gaining recognition by the public eye. However, is unlike Caravaggio (from the Baroque era) who had similar intentions in depicting truth within reality and whose skill and technique is certainly not limited. The key difference between the two artists (Caravaggio and Hirst) is not the obvious answer of ‘time’. Instead, it is how Hirst seems to have a good sense of the media and understands how that mindset works, which results in his intention being primarily concerned with a self-interested end. I argued that due to the influence of time and the drastic changes in fashion and philosophical thinking that have taken place since the early 15th century, it is time that dictates what art is considered acceptable and where art is going. The shock value of some artists today has lead to skill being undermined because they are reacting to a demand from society. Consequently, I believe that art can be anything, but that it has become a response to commodification and the need to make money as opposed to conveying personal expression. I feel that Kant’s philosophy of morality is key to my argument because it deals with the reasoning of the validity of art and the intentions of artists in order to determine whether their motivation is pure.

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2004 Abstracts Stage 2

Affirmative and Negative Metaphysical Theories of Objects

Objectives: To investigate antithetical theories of objects and examine the ways in which human knowledge and experience are shaped and determined by the things it apprehends. Key concepts: Thing-hood; appearance and properties; contradiction and conceivability; concept; perspective; skepsis; the atom; arkhē; metaphor, grammar, and word. Achievement of the work: The subjection of Kantian metaphysics to the rigorous philosophical methods of Nietzsche, and a radical re-evaluation of both the ‘thing-in-itself’ and the scientist’s need for the fundamental material object, the atom, as the building block of reality.

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2003 Abstracts Stage 3

Metaphysics of Physics – or the Dreams Stuff is Made of

OBJECTIVES. To answer: Is there reality or only appearance? What is it about Physics that makes everything else “stamp collecting”? Why do both nature and physics become explicable with maths? How do observers see things? Would we recognise a Theory of Everything? Did Quantum Mechanics kill cause? TEXTS. B. Russell: The Relation of Sense- Data to Physics; Kant: Critique of Pure Reason; M. Lange: Locality, Fields, Energy and Mass; T.Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions; G. Berkeley: Treatise Concerning Principles of Human Knowledge; K. Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery Key Words. Theory, reason,experiment, cause and effect, measurement.