2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the opposing philosophies of Robert Nozick and John Rawls in the context of modern British politics

This essay delves into the fundamentally opposing philosophies of Robert Nozick and John Rawls, two profoundly influential political thinkers whos works have shaped contemporary political thought. By examing both Nozick’s libertarian perspective and Rawls’s liberal egalitarian position the essay aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of their opposing beliefs regarding justice and the role of the state in society. Furthermore, this essay contextualises the works of each philosopher through highlighting the ways in which Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair’s political ideologies reflect the works of Nozick and Rawls, respectively. Through comparing the ideologies of these politicians to the works of Nozick and Rawls the essay explore the practical implications of these contrasting viewpoints and their impacts on society, welfare, and public policies. Overall, this essay aims to provide a deeper appreciation of the complex relationship between philosophy and politcs.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2


State interaction is a variable that each governing authority has to examine and judge in relation to individual welfare. After examining a variety of political philosophers and their beliefs on state interaction, I propose this thesis. While there is an argument for minimal state interaction, the most optimal way to promote individual welfare is through the level of state interaction that John Rawls proposes in A Theory of Justice. More state interaction than this is detrimental to individual welfare as it infringes on individual rights, and less state interaction than this has the potential to create vast inequalities within communities.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

“It is impossible for women to succeed in the male dominated discourse of politics”. An exploration into the objectifying representation of women in politics.

My project is an investigation into the ways in which the representation of women in politics by the media objectifies them and poses barriers to their success, this is explored through my key philosophers of Martha Nussbaum, Rae Langton and Kant who each propose a variety of forms of objectification. The way in which these notions of objectification impact the success of female politicians is demonstrated through empirical evidence of key political figures such as Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel. Through this investigation I reach the conclusion that the institutions of the government and the media are based on a patriarchal power imbalance and need to be reformed in order for women in politics to succeed without the harm of objectification.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Climate catastrophe, Political Imagination and Attitudes towards the future

In my project I investigate the problem of modern politics, especially the absence of viable alternatives to our contemporary political system. I use climate change as an example of an issue that is limit testing the stability of the status quo. I use Marcuse’s concept of one-dimensional thought and Badiou’s ethical theory as examples of radical critique of stale political arrangement, and also thinkers inspired by them like Mark Fisher and his concept of Capitalist Realism.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Investigating the management of the coronavirus pandemic in England during 2020, and discussing the cultural shaping of identity and the value of liberty for individuals

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has affected thousands of lives in England and South Korea. The management of the virus has been difficult, in terms of creating regulations that the common people would be willing to follow.
The responses in both countries, however, were significantly different. It can be considered that due to the contrasting cultures and identities, the responses from the people and the management from the governments were influenced by such background frameworks that are the foundations of the priorities.
This suggests that in an individualistic or idiocentric country, the government will prioritise people’s liberty and the economy, thus placing more importance on individual lives rather than the collective, alluding to less consideration of those extremely vulnerable. In comparison to a collectivist or allocentric country, the government will prioritise everyone’s safety, and the people will respond with discipline, thoughtfulness and accepting of regulations, that could be deemed invasive, for the sake of defeating the virus and lowering mortality rates. By considering the cultural shaping of identities, the value of liberty is displayed, in which individualistic countries lean towards individual freedom than the collective safety.

This project explored the philosophies of Charles Taylor, Anthony Giddens and Zygmunt Bauman.
Other thoughts include the discussion of the East Asian Tradition, Confucius Ethics, with the sociological research of Geert Hofstede. The political and philosophical view of Robert Nozick will be utilised to understand the value of liberty.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Truth and Falsehood Within Political Media

The main claim the project makes is that new digital media and the way they are used complexifies the idea of truth in political discourse in a way which undermines liberal assumptions. New media has become a fundamental object within liberal society; however, it has become a main source of the devaluation of facts. The purpose of this project is to explore how modern media have stimulated a debate on the concept of truth and falsehood in the conduct of political life. In order to do this, the project will draw upon the works of Kant, Lyotard, Habermas and Rawls.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Different uses of flags in the United Kingdom and the way in which they relate to identity and narrative.

o In this project I will be exploring the way in which people use flags today and whether the reason is down to their identity and narrative.
o I will be using the two main examples of: Flags being used to fulfil a political agenda, and flags being used at a football match.
o The philosophers I will use to form an idea around identity and narrative are Bauman, Lyotard and Fisher.
o These themes and examples are important to research as I feel they are very relevant in today’s news and surround stories such as Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic.
o I will conclude that identity and narrative are extremely important when considering why people use flags, but that the reason they use the flag does not necessarily conform to a general stereotype.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

To establish whether or not news companies have a responsibility to adhere to impartiality when reporting on political issues?

In my project I will be exploring and researching the concept of media impartiality, specifically in regard to political news stories, and whether news companies have a responsibility to produce impartial reports, or whether they have a right to express their opinion on their platform.

I analyse data and surveys conducted around the world in order to emphasise how present news media impartiality is in this day and age, and how detectable it is by the readers of the newspapers. This is an incredibly important subject as the news is more accessible now more than ever hence, it is more influential.

It will then be brought to light now influential the news is in the political world, seen in the images above, the Sun and Fox News, both owned by Rupert Murdoch. The Sun’s article claims responsibility for the 1997 United Kingdom election results, Fox news’ article states that the Unites States election of 2020 was rigged for Democrat Joe Biden. Both of these claims, made by the top newspapers in the country, sent tremors around the country causing backlash and violence, and ultimately mistrust in the media.

My approach in my essay is to cover the topic of media impartiality with reference to both 21st century philosophers and 17th/18th century philosophers.

I have chosen to do this, so the subject is widely covered by philosophers who address media impartiality directly; Diana Mutz and Joseph Mazor, and those who I apply their philosophical theorems to media impartiality; Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

‘Journalism is the first draft of History’

I will conclude that partisan news companies do not need to adhere to as strict impartiality as non-partisan news companies as their reputation should reflect the view point the journalists will be taking when reporting on political issues. Whereas news companies who claim to be impartial must strictly follow this claim as people will rely on them for an even-handed report on political issues.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Can paintings depict reality in a more meaningful way compared to photography in terms of political issues?

Investigating whether painting depicts reality in a more meaningful way compared to photography when faced with political and non-political issues and scenarios.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Safety in numbers: Understanding the popularity of the internet’s, ‘Alternative Light’.

The Alternative light in this context, is specifically that of, ‘Anti-Social Justice’ YouTube channels.

In my project I set out to understand three main things:

How these anonymous, internet based, political movements come about. About other real-world movements such as Occupy wall street
Is there any Philosophical foundation, or key figures, in founding this movement? (I define it as a movement due to its large growth both in viewership, and online political presence). And how does this compare to the foundations of other more extreme movements.
In the case where there is no foundation of these kinds, how does the world view remain so homogenous, and are there any issues in the foundation of everyone’s belief system?

Along the way I employed primarily the Philosophy of Nick Land, as he is most heavily associated with the movement, and helped in highlighting the significance of analyzing the alt-light specifically. I mapped the progression of these channels from their atheistic, anti-creationist origins, and using the philosophy’s, including that of Land and Nietzsche, showed the significance of this genesis, in the progression of the movement.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

The Reality Of ‘Generation Snowflake’ In Relation To The Contemporary Situation Facing Free Speech

Generation Snowflake and The Contemporary Situation

Defined in the Collins English Dictionary – ” the generation of people who became adults in the 2010’s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generation”

How has ‘Generation Snowflake’ come to be?

Foucault’s analysis of the kind of power at work today in Generation Snowflake is the interference and dominance of medicine, a discreet mode of power facilitating the set-up of this transactional reality.

Does Free Speech Exist Today in ‘Generation Snowflake’?

Mill’s Harm Principle – to safeguard liberty and free speech, ” the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others”.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

No-Platforming and UK Campus Censorship: The Liberal Dream. Progression or Regression?

Project Aims:

My project tends towards an understanding of No-Platforming and UK campus censorship (the object of investigation) within the context of Liberalism. In attempting to explain this relatively recent, and so-called Liberal, political phenomenon, I explore the way in which contemporary Liberalism functions as a political modality; and weather in fact it can be seen as Liberal at all. I Align the Liberal dream, as conceived, to Thomas Hobbes’ explication of a polity predicated on negative liberty (a term popularised by Isiah Berlin, and very much applicable to Hobbes). Hobbes’ thought serves as yardstick by which to measure the hermeneutic development of Liberalism. Leviathan is a primary text I refer to throughout the project. Berlin’s Two Conceptions of Liberty is also a primary source of information; providing the framework by which the debate between Classic Liberalism and Contemporary Liberalism takes shape. Classical Liberalism is affiliated with Hobbes’ emphasis on freedom from interference, and thus, in Berlin’s terms; negative Liberty. The question surrounding contemporary Liberalism, as symptomatized by No-Platforming and UK campus censorship, is whether it is a negative libertarian ideology or weather it has regressed into a political system that makes freedom possible only within the restrictions of prevailing beliefs, even if those beliefs, somewhat confusingly, concern freedom of oppressed groups. If the latter, contemporary Liberalism bears resemblance to pre-Liberal political ideologies with positive liberty at their core; and has thus regressed.

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Political Agency; is conflict inevitable?

Aims of the project:
Explore whether human nature makes us fixate upon personal and political ideals. • Discuss the issue of political agency and how anonymity can aid it in postmodern culture.
• Use existentialism to assess if anxiety encourages the rise of conflict.
• Examine Islamic State and how they use anxiety and uncertainty as aids to their recruitment process.
• Finally try to assess whether conflict is inevitable in postmodern culture.
“To resent is already to go beyond, to move toward the possibility of an objective transformation.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
“The most that force can achieve is acquiescence and outer conformity.” – Bernard Williams
“Throughout the ages people have wanted to ‘improve’ humanity.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Relationship between Art, Politics and Architecture in a ‘Post-Political World’

With reference to:
 Rancière’s metapolitical framing of architecture and the reconstruction of Brodsky

The intention of this project is to outline three independent topics concerning: (1) Rancière’s ‘metapolitical’ framing of architecture, (2) Alexander Brodsky and Illya Utkin’s ‘Paper Architecture’, and (3) Ralph Erskine’s ‘democratic’ architecture, with the aim of analysing and assessing the question as to whether there is room for a political enquiry into the philosophy of architecture in a ‘post-political’ world.

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

Dream and Nightmare. A critical reading of Fukuyama’s End of History with reference to the events of September 11th, 2001 and the aftermath.

This paper is primarily a sustained critique of Fukuyama’s work on the Universal History of Mankind. It aims to explore developmental trends in global politics by interrogating the philosophical roots of perhaps the most dominant theory of the last twenty five years, extending the study I undertook in my previous project. It takes the form of a comprehensive study of Fukuyama’s theory, from its Hegelian roots to its implications for Western foreign policy. I examine this material through the prism of the events of September 11th, 2001 and the consequent aftermath. I draw from a number of secondary sources, most notably Zygmunt Bauman, Jean Baudrillard, Sam Huntington and John Gray.

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

What Is the Working Relationship Between the Concept of Consent and the Mechanism of Democracy? A Case Study on the Legitimacy of the House of Lords

This project aims to explore the concept of consent and the mechanism of democracy. With such similar theoretical credentials, it is often assumed that their practical compatibility is a naturally harmonious one. However, the fact that both ideas cover similar territory means that a zero-sum relationship between the ideas obliges particular models of consent to correspond to particular versions of democracy. A case study on the House of Lords and plans to reform the second chamber provides interesting material for discussion. The discussion observes the House of Lords’ alternative claim to democratic credentials and how the basis for consent must adopt a hypothetical character in order to accommodate this changed relationship between the state and its citizenry.

The project includes:
•a preliminary outline of the heritage of the question; political legitimacy and political obligation
•a presentation of the evolution of consent
•a case study
the House of Lords profile
the problem
the House of Lords defence
•a discussion engaging the political philosophical concepts with the case study

Locke’s understanding of consent helps to provide a paradigmatic definition of consent from which to refer to as the concept changes dynamics under different modes of democracy.
Lord Grenfell engages with Fabienne Peter, author of Stanford Encyclopedia entry “Political Legitimacy” in his defence of the political legitimacy of the House of Lords. He lays claim to a hypothetical version of consent and a democratic character which is both procedural and concerned for outcomes.
Parkinson recognises deliberative democracy as a suitable account of the House of Lords’ efforts to maintain a rational and informed approach to decision making.

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

The Legitimacy of Government: Liberty or Coercion?

Over the last few centuries government has grown rapidly. From an original agreement of mutual protection government has grown into a legislative and regulatory body that seemingly interferes with the day to day life of its citizens. This project then aims to address the coercion that underlies all of the state activity to determine whether or not we can truly be considered free.

Firstly I looked at the ideas of Liberty that were laid out by Isaiah Berlin in order to find out what Liberty actually is. From there I had to ask the question, can liberty be given up to form a government under a social contract? This essay looks at three contrasting ideas on the social contract, namely those of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. It will then discuss the extent to which these social contracts can still be applied to the modern world and not just in theory. Next it’ll look at criticisms of the social, like Hume’s idea that the social contract is a necessary fiction. Following on from that idea it will examine Spooner’s attack on the validity of such contracts and his critique of tacit consent. Finally then it will look at the moral argument against the state of nature which is derived from Negative Liberty.

Central Thinkers:
Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
John Locke: Second Treatise of Government
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract
Lysander Spooner: No Treason
Isaiah Berlin: Two Concepts of Liberty

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

Genealogy, Power and War: Death from Inside

That which mankind has called war throughout the ages has become a very different phenomenon to what it once was; in our day and age we find ourselves part of a world continuously in conflict, but the very fact that we know this is due to the scope and depth of the information which has been compiled and disseminated by the media. This project will focus on how war, and in particular the very nature of our understanding and views governing it, has been inexorably changed with the advent of advanced information technologies. Paying specific attention to the means of its dissemination and the techniques and methods involved in this process, I will discuss how information, the very stuff of which our truths and ideas are composed of, and its constant manipulation not only affect our views on war and the societies which it involves, but also those of the entirety of our working geopolitical structure. I will focus mainly on late-twentieth to early twenty-first century U.S. warfare, explaining certain practices and decisions implemented by Americans as a whole, keeping these in line with the aims and context of my inquiry. I have chosen to apply Foucault’s ideas on genealogy as the central methodology upon which this inquiry will be constructed as I believe it to be not only pertinent and applicable to the subject matter, but more rigorous and conducive to the production of truth necessary to its competent investigation than any traditional historical method. Although I deviate slightly from the “traditional” foucaultian understanding of genealogy, choosing to rely heavily on statistics gathered through the process of polling and information distributed through newspaper, journal, and magazine articles instead of using mainly primary accounts, I believe my adaptation to his methodology to both ground my study in the temporal contexts which I analyze and complement my work and its search for interruptions within the context of political history, war, and technology. I will also draw heavily upon other concepts previously explored by Foucault to better explain my own views, with specific attention paid to the natures of truth and power; I will then adapt these ideas in such a manner as to allow for further elaboration of certain ideas essential to the development of my thesis which I will address later on in this work. In order to achieve a more in-depth understanding of the subject, I will juxtapose the philosophy of power and right of Thomas Hobbes, the ideas of which I argue to be outdated and now completely at odds with the realities of modern global, and especially American, politics, against that of Paul Virilio; a large portion of this investigation will deal with some of the more prominent ideas ascribed to this contemporary thinker, as I will seek to explain parts of his analysis of the first Gulf War through an inquiry of the media’s effect on the American, and indeed global, populace within this context. I will then conclude by condensing different aspects of both Foucault’s and Virilio’s theories into a single, working thesis.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Democratic Principles in Lithuania

I have chosen the subject for several reasons. Apart from being able to investigate the journey of the development of democratic ideas in Europe, I had a chance to review the history of my own country and therefore present its difficult and passionate strife for the things that the Western part of Europe has taken for granted for so long. The picture below represents the unity and devotion that were the main accelerators in achieving what are now 3 proud independent democratic countries. It is a picture of the events of 1989 August, when people of all 3 Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) gathered together and joined hands across the 3 nations ( 650 km, more than 400 miles) in order to demonstrate their opposition to Soviet rule. Somewhere in that live fence stood myself, a five year old, expressing my right to be free. Philosophical Concept: I investigate the ways freedom can be manifested in a society. My main sources are Mill’s “On Liberty” and Rousseau’s “Social Contract” that represent the discussion between collectiveness and individuality that is crucial in defining the principles of any form of government, especially democratic.