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.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Mahadevi’s Devotion to Siva: Does it End in Fusion for Lacan and Levinas?

This essay explores the possibility of fusion, of becoming one with Siva, as it is expressed in the Vacanas (poems) of a 12th Century Siva devotee: Mahadevi. Considering the writings of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Lacan we can ask what it means to be liberated and to fulfil one’s desires in this way. Critically, we begin this essay with Levinas and discuss his conception of the self; how this self comes to be in relation to the other, and how freedom is to be understood. Following Levinas we investigate the notion of desire for Lacan, which requires a look into the Oedipus complex and the object petit a. In the final section of this essay, we attempt to find the position of Siva in relation to the subject and question whether fusion is finally possible. This will respond to what has been so far discussed in the hope of showing that Siva is not a being but is representative of the subject of my subjectivity – Levinas’ infinitely other – which is only attainable by being a self for the Other.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the Queen, as portrayed and understood by the Netflix production ‘The Crown’, truly treated as an Other?

The Queen is not truly recognised by us for the work she does, but by the title she holds. Do we treat her as we should treat another human being, or do we treat her as if she is just her title?

The philosophy of Sartre and Levinas will be used as they both put forward a theory of the Other. We have an effect on the others freedom for both philosophers.

For Levinas, it is getting away from Heidegger’s view that we encounter everything with its use value. We have a relationship and a responsibility over the Other.

For Sartre, is the Queen acting in Bad Faith? Rather than recognising herself beyond her duty.

So, does the Queen restrict herself from becoming an Other, or do we restrict the Queen from being treated as an Other truly should be?

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

Depression in an Age of Control: Towards a Phenomenology of Mental Illness


LEVINAS – There is
VIRNO – Precarity
HEIDEGGER – Value of inauthentic everydayness?
DELEUZE – Discipline -> Control Individuals -> “Dividuals”


2010 Abstracts Stage 3

The Philippine Condition: a Levinasian Account of Conflict

This stage three project will investigate the condition of Filipino society and the philosophical implications of its turbulent modern history. With a political past which has seen totalizing regimes with American and Spanish colonisation, dictatorship and a corrupt state of democracy influenced by Western materialism, this project will undertake an alternative philosophical approach in Emmanuel Levinas’ concept of the same and the Other to give a different assessment of power conception in Filipino history.

While the project takes into account events which have happened over the course of a century, particular attention is paid to the dictatorship in the 1970s under Ferdinand Marcos. In conjunction with this, the books Dekada 70 by Laulhati Bautista, and The Social Cancer by Filipino national hero Jose Rizal will be introduced to highlight the situation of the territory.

The philosophical aspect takes into consideration the work of Emmanuel Levinas. While beginning the project from an interpretive Heideggerian and Hermeneutic angle, a natural progression will be made to depart from a theory based mainly upon identity. By illustrating the historical narrative with the concepts of the same and the Other, this project shows how encounters on a global scale has allowed the Philippine condition to be an example of a state which is resistant toward totalisation.

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

The Threat of 21st Century Global Terror: are Terrorist Organisations Psychotic [Freud]?

Territory: Terror and the Suicide Bomber.
Terrorism is not a new weapon but in the 21st Century we have seen it used to devastating effect. A 21st Century phenomenon is the suicide bomber, the human bomb willing to sacrifice their own life for terrors cause. The suicide bomber is an utterly baffling weapon 9 times out of 10 it is unable to be defused and its explosive force can cause widespread damage to infrastructure, troops and civilians. For counter terror organisations around the world the suicide bomber presents the ultimate nightmare and risk to the civilian population. It is a bomb combined with human thought and human emotion, a bomb that shouldn’t exist.

Concept: Freudian Psychosis.
The aim of my project is to engage with the terrorist’s mind-set, in particular the suicide bombers with respect to Freudian psychology. The simple answer is to declare terrorism and its follower’s psychotic thought, but could this assumption merely be just a Western attitude?

Secondary Concept: Levinas’s Autrui.
For further discussion I will also engage the terrorist with Autrui [the Other] to discuss if the suicide bomber truly understands the people it destroys as Autrui.

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

The BNP: the British Nazi Party?

Territory: Anti-Semitism in Hitler’s Mein Kampf vs. anti-immigration policies in the BNP Manifestos – “scapegoatism” of cultural minorities in right-wing politics. Objectives: • to identify the evolution of nationalism in the Western world. • to investigate the impact that cultural diversification has upon our attitudes towards others – has racism truly dissipated? • to consider why the exaggerated fantasy of the conspirator is so readily accepted to blame; do we genuinely believe minorities are responsible for our misery? • to decide objectively whether closedness is the more natural reaction to alterity. Concepts: • Reductio ad Hitlerum? (Leo Strauss) • “Scapegoatism” of minorities for social problems. • Žižek: ‘the Other’ as a threat – che vuoi? • Levinas: ‘the Other’ as superior – height and openness.