2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Privacy Laws are required in order for society to flourish

Privacy is becoming an ever increasing point of discussion in the contemporary world as of the increasing use of social media and technological advances in such areas as data surveillance. This project looks to tackle the issues that arise with privacy by first looking at privacy and its link to personal autonomy and trust which is especially relevant to the modern state which has greater control over the private life of individuals such as in medical research and in legislation concerning life such as in the case of euthanasia. This project shows the value in which privacy has in maintaining the separation of the public and privacy sphere which are essential for society to flourish and allow for such things as personal relationships to be formed. This project looks at such thinkers as Jeremy Bentham,Plato,Aristotle and Kant to reach a conclusion to why privacy laws are required for society to flourish from a philosophical standpoint.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Understanding Love

The aim of my research was to provide a rounded explanation of the different forms that ‘love’ can be seen within. I explored my search for love into three perspectives; eros, philia, and agape. While looking at Eros, I provide a more detailed account of what romantic love is really considered to be, mainly defined by Plato in his Symposium. I then explored love within traditional monogamous relationships and the less traditional idea of ‘open relationships’ which two philosophers, Simone De Beaviour and Sartre were a part of. I then continued on to explore Philia. This outlines the love one feels within a friendship. While investigating the idea of friendship, I researched what Aristotles considers to be the three types of friendships, a friendship of utility, a friendship of pleasure and a perfect friendship. While doing this I looked at the similarities and differences between Eros and Philia. Finally, I spoke about Agape, which refers to the paternal love to and from God, as well as the love for humanity as a whole. This led me to question whether our ‘love’ for our religious leader is the same kind of love we experience in our physical relationships and friendships and whether Agape is something that we depend on more or less than a relationship or friendship.
I ask myself what links all three components? My hypothesis is that self love is what links all three. I argued that without self love, one would struggle to give and receive love from others. As mentioned by De Beavouir in relation to Ero’s, people are often brought together by “their weakness rather than in their strength”. From this, I take that they lack self love so look to those around them in order to feel loved. Within philia, it is said that “The wish to be friends can come about quickly, but friendship cannot”, meaning that we are quick to desire the love from a friend, sometimes before making a genuine friendship. I believe we would not be so quick to form meaningless friendships if we were content with our own company, content with the self love we have. Within Agape, the relationship is not measured by physical contact or quality time but through the belief that God’s love transcends anything physical. This draws a parallel with self love, as again it is, for lack of a better word, an “intangible” relationship but still remains very important. I believe one who has a strong sense of self love, would find it easier to give love as passionately and as selflessly as God does, to forgive and love those that have wronged them.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Is there is a surrealist element to mumble rap and if so, how does this effect either art form

My aim when researching and writing this project was to discover if there was a surrealist element to the subgenre of hip-hop called mumble rap, and if there was, what this would mean for both the subgenre in question and the avant-garde surrealist movement. I have done so by analysing various mumble rap songs and surrealist poems as well as discovering if surrealist techniques could be viewed in those songs. Also, I have also analysed the respective shifts within the art forms that each movement operated in. Furthermore, I have used Plato’s ideas in the Republic to understand whether the way Breton turned away from Platonic ideas and attitudes is similar to the way mumble rap artists turned away from conscious rap, which similarly contains mimetic and logical ideas. As well as this, I was interested in discovering what this means for both sub-genres. This is because Andre Breton, the de-facto leader of the early surrealist movement, famously hated the mainstream and mumble rap is a popular style of music. On the other hand, I was interested in how this would affect mumble rap and if they were linked, what the implications of being linked to a well-respected movement would do for a sub-genre often dismissed by critics. In doing this project I have gained a deeper respect and understanding for all the elements involved.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

20th century models of emancipatory education: the case of Waldorf schools

How do Waldorf schools compare to other educational philosophies? – Hollie Donnithorne
This project is centred around multiple differing educational philosophies, and will analyse how they compare to that of Rudolf Steiner and his Waldorf schools in an attempt to see how these schools may affect wider society and the individual. By using Steiner’s texts such as Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, Steiners approach to education will be dissected in order to properly understand the background to Steiner’s educational philosophy. As part of this, the project will seek to properly understand ‘anthroposophy’, Steiner’s spiritual philosophy, and how these beliefs effect his approach to education and its influence on the individual.
Once Steiner’s approach is fully understood, the aim of the project becomes understanding it in comparison to other schools of thought within the philosophy of education. By using primary texts such as John Dewey’s Democracy and Education, the project seeks to understand other dominant education philosophies of the 20th century not only to give context to Steiner’s ideas, but also to understand how Waldorf schools differ from other thinkers and how this is thought to affect the individual child and the wider society. As well as looking at other 20th century thinkers, the project will compare Steiner’s thoughts to that of philosophers such as Plato by looking at The Republic and seeing how Plato sets out a drastically different educational philosophy from that of Steiner. By looking at this, the project is able to weigh up both schools of thought and dive into how they individually may have an impact on the child and wider society.
The project also makes use of thinkers such as Karl Marx and his thoughts about how education currently works in line with capitalism in order to uphold class structures as well as maintain a lack of class consciousness. By analysing and applying Marx’s thoughts to Waldorf schools the project is better able to understand them within the context of capitalism. The project is then able to analyse Waldorf education in many different contexts and therefore better understand how they function as part of a larger society.

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

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.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Free Internet Pornography and The Under Eighteens

An investigation into how ideologies within Ancient Greek philosophy may pre-empt the impact of negative influences within free online pornography on the large number of under eighteens who regularly consume it.

The aim in engaging with the material I have chosen it two fold. Firstly, I intended to further my understanding of pornography within my society and not only that but to further expand upon my own understanding of the philosophies proposed by Plato and Aristotle. Secondly, I intended to better my ability in applying philosophical concepts and attempting to find solutions to real world issues.

The object of this project is free online pornography and the messages and attitudes that are resembled within in. The issues raised by pornography is the masculine ideology portrayed in the videos that the younger consumers are likely to adopt themselves. I will be looking for solutions to this problem within Plato’s idea of a good education and Aristotle’s idea of virtue.

I will make direct references to Plato’s The Republic, Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics, and finally, Robert Jenson’s Getting Off: pornography and the end of masculinity.

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

A Study into the Negative Representation of Gastronomy within Philosophy and Further Looking to How this is an Outdated View in Modern Society

Within this project I plan to show how gastronomy has been negatively represented in the philosophical world and how this way of thinking no longer is true and reflective of the trends found within modern society. I shall be using a range of philosopher to show how modes of thought which claim gastronomic experience to be unworthy of aesthetic response are no longer valid to implement.

Key words
Gastronomy: the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food
Michelin Star: a hallmark of fine dining quality in restaurants across the world. A restaurant may receive one, two, or three stars, representing very good, exceptional, or exquisite cuisine, respectively.

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophers Used

Plato and Gastronomy
Plato held that anything to do with the stomach must be shunned. He claimed that the stomach could only be governed by passion and appetite and hence it was not virtuous to take pleasure from food. Essentially for Plato, ‘food and drink merely reeked of the transient, inadequate, inferior material world of the senses, bodily pleasures and humdrum non philosophical activities.’ (Allhoff and Monroe: 2007, 24)

Kant and Gastronomy
Kant provided the main attack against the value of gastronomy and it is this view which remains prevalent in the philosophical world. Kant maintains that food cannot provide an aesthetic experience in the same way as a piece of art would since he claims food can only provide an immediate response which can only ever be agreeable or disagreeable. Furthermore he claims our relationship with food can never be disinterested (a characteristic he states to be necessary of aesthetic experience) since the consumption of food is an innate animalistic desire.

Brillat-Savarin and Gastronomy
Brillat-Savain claims that food is able to provide aesthetic experience and he lays out his argument in his work, The Physiology of Taste. He claims that tasting and appreciating food is a complex endeavour which takes both time and reflective judgement. He formulated the sequence of ingestion which shows how this occurs. The three stages of sensation he identifies are namely; direct, complete and reflective. Brillat-Savarin also infers that the pleasure deduced from enjoyment of gastronomy is the most divine of them all.

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

The Philosophy of Education: How can the educational philosophies of Plato, Rousseau and Dewy be used in improving the current state of the education system?

An analysis of the modern education system through the eyes of Dewey, Plato and Rousseau.

Can the principles of these three men found in Democracy and Education, Emile, and Republic respectively be used to make a profound difference in modern education?

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

The Reality of Love: A Critical Analysis of the Western Idea of Love as a Concept and an Attempt to Understand our Modern Interpretation of What it is to be “in love” and How this has Developed and Altered Over Time

My objective in this essay is to produce an accurate analysis of our understanding of love, how it has changed over time and to examine how different theories, ideologies and cultural progressions have influence our contemporary understanding of love’s nature, origin and effect.

First I will examine Ancient Greek philosophy on love and the work of Plato in order to establish a foundation for understanding.
I will then analyse contemporary psychoanalysis from Freud and contrast this with Irving Singer’s theory on forms of romanticism from ‘Philosophy of Love’ and ‘The Nature of Love’.

After this, I will critically discuss changes in social standpoints on sexuality, Christianity and its portrayal of love, modern changes in how we find love, faithfulness in loving relationships and the correlation between love and sex.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

What is True Beauty and How Does the Media Effect this View?

What is beauty in today’s society? Beauty should not be based purely on physical attributes. Essentially, my project argues that the media is wrong for constantly portraying unattainable body images of young men and women. The media persistently tells us what we should wear, how we should look, what size we should be; giving us a normative dimension that is not beauty as a fact, but as a value; something we want it to be.

We need to set ourselves free from the media’s conception of beauty and perfection. We need to use our philosophy to understand and discover what beauty really is; for it is more than what we presented in the media. If we disregard the media’s perfectionist views on beauty, we will be happier. A better understanding of what beauty is can liberate us from the obligation to look ‘perfect’. In the same way that when I do not believe in God, the Priest ceases to have power over me; when I do not believe in the media’s representation of beauty, the images cease to have power over me.

I aim to conclude my project firstly by agreeing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly agree that beauty can be many different things to many different people. I shall use Plato, Kant and Hume to support my view.

2010 Abstracts Stage 2

Art, Definition and Essence: Doomed to Failure?

Many Philosophers over the centuries have debated whether the attempt to define art is plausible, indeed, possible. Numerous artist and philosopher, alike, have tried to define art in one corresponding universal term, bringing together all sufficient and necessary factors involved.

Many denied that art could be defined at all; in fact, it was considered anti essentialist. Meaning that art has an essence which is unable to be defined, the range is so broad. Others however maintained that art has no essence and turned their backs on the philosophical notion of essentialism all together. They maintained that the essence of art cannot be hidden from us, therefore denied the existence of a definition. Philosophers’ such as Weitz’s argued in his highly famous paper “The Role of Theory in Aesthetics” that it was no coincidence that there was a constant failure from both artists and aestheticians to define art in a universal term.

The aim of this dissertation is to work through a multitude of philosophical views on the definition of art, to find out the terms that art is placed under and what qualities a piece needs in order to qualify. For example, what qualities have to be similar in order for a renaissance portrait and a contemporary installation need in order to satisfy a universal definition? I will be looking at concepts such as essentialism, beauty, essence, expressionism and reality within art.

This dissertation will use a multitude of key philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Weitz, Bell and Kant; along with others that interlink during the project.

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

The Pursuit of Happiness

Territory – Happiness Object – The search, relativity and morality of the emotion Concepts – ethics, relativity, utilitarianism and materialism Thinkers – Montaigne, Plato and Schopenhauer

The search for happiness seems to be a part of the human condition. It is a sometimes selfish, ambition that the human race, and western world culture specifically, feels is owed to them.

-What are the pre-requisites of happiness?
-Is it natural?
-Is happiness relative, i.e.: can the poor be as happy as the rich? Can the unintelligent be as happy and the intelligent?
– Is Schopenhauer’s pessimistic view of the possibility of happiness understandable?
– Does money and material gain lead to happiness or is it merely a superficial façade?
-Is it essential?

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

The Morality of War: the War in Afghanistan and the UK Experience

The War in Afghanistan; which began on October 7, 2001 as the U.S. military operation, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, was launched by the United States with the United Kingdom, and Natoled, UN authorized ISAF in response to the September 11 attacks. This conflict will form the basis of my project. I will discuss the various ethical issues which have arisen from it and attempt to clarify the different arguments for and against such a war.

There are many issues surrounding this conflict, for example the justification of the war itself, Increasing civilian casualties, lack of support for troops, both from the public and in terms of equipment. The detrimental effect on the population, especially farmers and industrial workers. The lack of sufficient troop numbers. The requirements of the Afghan population. There are many philosophical proponents of these theories and I intend to apply the theories of a number of philosophers to the problems we see in this conflict; Plato, Hobbes, Kant, Hegel Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Locke & Rousseau, are some of the philosophers I will use to discuss the moral issues which result from these problems, from the just war arguments to the opposing teleological and deontological notions of war. Change I am particularly interested in the attitude of the UK towards this conflict, I will investigate the extent to which our attitude to war has changed, from the first and second world wars to the present day conflict in Afghanistan, with reference to the Falkland’s conflict and the Northern Ireland troubles. I wish to understand how these conflicts have affected the way the UK views war. To what extent has our perception of it changed over the past one hundred years? And what can we learn from these past conflicts? This shall be the ultimate goal of my project.

2005 Abstracts Stage 2

Plato’s Academy to Schooling Today: a study into the lack of nurture in schools today and the effect this has on the influences of school life

Territory: Wycombe Abbey School. An all girls Boarding School founded in 1896 by Dame Frances Dove, whose aim for the school was “The development of each student’s talents and the fostering of an awareness of God and an understanding of the needs of others”. “A record 98% of the 250 A-Levels taken by 76 girls were graded A or B, 78% were graded A” 2004 A level results, Daily Telegraph Saturday August 28th 2004 Aims and Objectives: • To explore the concept of nurture within schools, arguing for Plato’s concept of a boarding environment to promote a learning community thus exploring more than just results, but also development of the soul. • To discuss the lack of social interaction between students and teachers, particularly within universities, in which interaction is minimal, and Internet and e-mail have become more predominant features of communication and learning. Plato’s Noble Puppies to Warrior Kings relationship has gone as now the focus for learners is upon results, not personality development. Possible Solutions to the Problem: Montessori Schools: The Montessori Method – developed in 1912 by Maria Montessori for, “Man is not only a biological but a social product, and the social environment of individuals in the process of education, is the home” ‘Free’ Schools: E.g. Summerhill, Brookwood, Standbridge Earls. Within these schools the freedom of the individual is the most important feature. o Lessons and exams are not compulsory o School Rules are made by Pupils and Teachers equally. “The most important part is the building and maintaining an environment where members of the community can co-exist in harmony and in personal freedom” Summerhill School Webpage. Mike Tomlinson’s Report: Focus on a diploma, rather than the AS and A2 system of today, meaning vocational studies can be regarded as more important to society, giving students more freedom to express their true interests, thus putting more into school and consequently getting more out of it. Philosophic Focus: • Plato’s views on Education found in The Republic focusing on nurture as the most important element of educating • Kant’s Categorical Imperative: It is evident that Free Schools will not amount in the Categorical Imperative as whilst individuals are happy, without qualifications society cannot move on.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

Promiscuity as the Masculinization of Women: Masculinization as the Complexification of Nature

Place: The Suit, as an image, as an androgynous construct Aim: My intention is not to assess the concept of promiscuity from a moral standpoint but more to suggest that it has been illustrative of the move away from what is essentially feminine to a world where women themselves in terms of what is masculine and how this gendering is representative of our move away from nature towards into an age of complexification Masculine and feminine: towards an age of androgyny? What is masculine? What is feminine? Indoctrinated definitions of gender through the ages from Plato to present day, the implication of gender classification on social constructs Promiscuity I will initially focus on the idea of promiscuous behaviour, how and why there has been an increase in women partaking in this behaviour (if this is the case) and the social ramifications of this. The issue is the promise of sex totally free of reproductive consequences, a myth that has served men not women. Our sexual culture which promotes pleasure over responsibility has ignored the reproductive capability of women’s bodies. Pose the question do, and if so why do women replicate men, instances of masculine behaviour, women at work etc why is success viewed in male terms, i.e. mothering undervalued, all the traditional female roles considered irreverent in modern society Masculinization. From Greek thought there has been a separation of culture and nature into male and female categories. Since the mechanical age we have become first mechanized and then manufactured, our bodies are commodities Promiscuity could be predicted as the result of a complex system, a particular way of handling material objects, everything has to be consumable. Promiscuous behaviour ultimately an expression that has been mechanized and commodified until it has become transparent. It is because we have become separated from nature that women have become masculinized, progression away from nature.

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.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

What ‘I’ is and What ‘I Ought to be

Objectives • To consider what ‘I’ means: what it consists of and what we want/hope it to mean (e.g. consisting of a soul etc.). • To consider what I myself am as an individual and what I believe I ought to be. • To consider what kind of world I am living in and what kind of world I feel I ought to be living in. • To try and distinguish between what I believe I ought to be and the influence society has on this. How Done • I will look at Plato’s view of what a human being is made up of. • Also the way everyday people see the human person and the reasons for this. • I will assess myself: who I am, and from this discover what I have to change or enhance in order to become what I ought to be. What Achieved • By doing this I will be able to attempt to move from the place I am in now to the place I want or ought to be in. • This ‘place’ being not just existent inside myself, but also being in the physical world as a real place. • However, this real place as the world would not be changed only physically, but also in its ideals.

2002 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation into ‘The Photo’

Objectives: ~ To Outline the origins of the photo ~ Explain how it has developed and evolved and how its roles have changed alongside society ~ Investigate its classification as an ‘artform’ ~ Look at its change from traditional to modern Project Territory/field of exploration: ~ The Photographer Mario Testino-National Portrait gallery ~ Magazines ~ Own Photo’s and Photo’s of Brooke Shannon The ‘photo’ has infiltrated gradually nearly every aspect of society today. It is in constant use as a form of proof, enjoyment and as a means of controlling our ever mobile population and world. How has this apparently simple object managed to permeate so significantly into our world, bridging the gap between the ‘real world’ and that of images, bridging the gap between humans and things? This contribution to the ‘book of change’, is essentially a subjective interpretation of the contribution of ‘ The Photo’ to this world, highlighting its impact and evolution, is the photo the world outside Plato’s cave or the shadows that we watch inside the cave?…….