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2013 Abstracts Stage 3

President Kagame What makes a legitimate Leader?

Hobbes
State of Nature/ Rwandan genocide

Rousseau
One’s right to obey a power does not legitimise power

State of Peace with Sovereign Kagame

Kagame’s possible move to Democracy to legitimise his power

Categories
2013 Abstracts Stage 2

An Exploration into Freemasonry (as Considered in S. Knight’s The Brotherhood) and its Influence on Power Dynamics within Social and Political Philosophies

Stephen Knights’ ‘The Brotherhood” (1985) claims that Freemasonry exists throughout most power dynamic systems and structures we recognize in modern day Britain.

Through an exploration of these claims and an analysis of them it seeks to discover how they would fit through various social and political philosophies such as those of Habermas, Plato, Hobbes, Locke and Nietzsche

It will look at how the alleged power and influence of Freemasonry fits with:
• Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action.
• Plato’s Republic
• Hobbes’ Leviathan
• Locke’s Two Treatise of Government
• Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The Project looks at how Habermas’s theory of communicative action suggests that as their influence on society exists in their ability to control and coerce general population consensus. We must re-engage in a new civil autonomy so as to assert our own un-influenced general opinion. As such in a Democracy we may consider that in accordance with this, Freemasonry has no legitimacy in its power.

It then looked to Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’ Leviathan and Locke’s Two Treatise of Government to establish whether it could find a more accredited position outside democracy. However the secrecy and abstract assumptions regarding the movement brought about new issues with its validity.

Finally the project considered that, in light the lack of action taken against Freemasonry we could be led to assert a form of Existential angst present. If we are to consider that the movement finds no admissible or appropriate place in so many social and political philosophies then why does it still exist. The conclusion is the existential angst the majority face as proposed by Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. If Freemasonry is as influential as Knight’s ‘The Brotherhood’ suggests then maybe Freemasonry has infiltrated our social structures too far throughout the course of history and its control become too engrained in all we know for anything to be done about it. Or have we just no interest in what has become an old novelty tradition.

Categories
2013 Abstracts Stage 3

Who Controls the Past Controls the Future, Who Controls the Present Controls the Past. A Discussion into the Manipulation of History in Relation to Power in Orwell’s 1984

The Novel
Big Brother, Continuous war, ever present government surveillance, mind control, eradication of independent thought, manipulation of history and written record

Power
Power in its third dimension:
Being complicit in one’s own domination
Ideologies are promoted; the masses are forced to believe that what they think is in their interests are furthering the interests of those in power

Hegel
Culture and knowledge are liberating; culture makes an individual rational
The course of history is governed through a development of ‘progress’
Progress toward emancipation and empowerment

Lyotard
Crisis in modernity; loss of belief in metanarratives
Power is maintained through a manipulation of historical record
no one can ‘know’ anything anymore; the interests of those in power are maintained

Categories
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

Categories
2007 Abstracts Stage 2

How is the Relationship Between Student and Teacher Comparable to that of Hegel’s Lord and Bondsman Model?

Territory: My initial study took place in Saint Walburga’s Catholic Primary School, in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. I spent time within the school and particular classrooms collating information and observing the interactions between students and teachers. Aims: I aim to consider the relationships between students and teachers within the education system. I will look at the notion of dependency within this relationship and consider whether the teacher and/or student are dependent on the other. Also key to my study is the question of freedom in education and whether either student or teacher holds the most freedom. I will look to the paradox of teaching and learning and how this need not prevent teaching or learning, provided that both teacher and student willingly risk a power relationship of mastery and dependence. Philosophers and Sources: The majority of my study uses Hegel’s lord and bondsman dialectic, as found within in his Phenomenology of Spirit. However I wish to undertake an exploration of the master/slave relation beyond the Phenomenology of Spirit through the ideas of Educational Theorist Nigel Tubbs.

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2004 Abstracts Stage 3

“The Office”: a philosophical analysis of the changing conditions power and resistance embrace in the corporate workplace

“Using the BBC sitcom the office as a stereotype; a philosophical analysis of the changing conditions power and resistance embrace in the corporate workplace.” Key Concepts/ Words: – Power, ethics, morality, will, resistance, autonomy, freedom, motivation, existence, capitalism, fordism, post-fordism, hybridisation, bureaucracy, red-tape, bio-power, hierarchy, top-down, bottom up, modernity, postmodernity, globalisation. Objectives: – Using the office as a model, I intend to investigate some of the pivotal questions of power, resistance and autonomy which arise when humans interface in the corporate environment. Sources: – Sourcing from books, library journals and internet journals. Original and secondary writings of Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger and Machiavelli. – the office first and second series, also related internet sites. – Background reading of business ethics and the condition of postmodernity. Change: – The paradigm shifts between modernity and postmodernity, Fordism and flexible accumulation. How factors such as technological advance, globalization and the drive for ‘the American dream’ affect human behaviour in the business environment. The gap between humans and things: – Man and technology. – The gap between man and the material world. – Man and globalization.

Categories
2003 Abstracts Stage 2

The Nature of Power and the Symbolic Female

An exploration into the nature of power in Prague in the Baroque and Art Deco Periods using the Symbolic Female to reflect the Paradigm Shift. Emperor Rudolf II made his home in Prague drawing astronomers, artists, astrologers and alchemists to his court. As the map on the left indicates Bohemia was considered to be the heart of Europe during the Baroque era as it flourished culturally and scientifically. The start of my exploration will begin in this period, examining the nature of Rudolf’s power as given by God through the ‘Divine Right of Kings.’ I intend to show how this power was demonstrated through art using the symbol of the female form, particularly looking at the work of the Czech Artist Karel _kreta. The Nature of Power and the Symbolic Female Using the Art of Alphonse Mucha I will examine the state of these early nations, exploring what circumstances led to them. Mucha was born and spent much of his time in Bohemia and the culmination of his work was the Slav Epic in which he wished to give to the Slavic people as sense of their nation’s history. In my examination of the Art Deco period I will also be using the work of Gustav Klimt. Klimt’s work explores the crises of separation, the nihilism that had come about due to the failing truth of the subject-object divide. Klimt’s women no longer look entirely female, people often blend into backgrounds, the perfection of the female of the Baroque period is gone. Perfection is no longer given by God just as power is no longer given by God. The very nature of truth, beauty and power has changed. My project will try to determine why these changes have taken place, what process it was that led to this transformation from Power given by God to the emerging Nations.

Categories
2003 Abstracts Stage 3

The Fleeting Focus and the Phantom of Power

Subject: Post-Humanism and Post-Industrial Society in Occidental North East England from the mid twentieth century to the early twenty-first. Source: Part One – The Post-Human Condition by R. Pepperell Part Two – Liberating Technology by J. Graves Secondary support material Out of Control by R. Kelly The Inhuman by J. F. Lyotard Man and technology by B. Adkins Objectives: Part One – To show the theoretical and through example, empirical, paradigm shift from a ‘human-centred’ universe to a ‘Post-Human’ one. Part Two – To show the theoretical and through example, empirical, paradigm shift from an industrial society to a ‘Post-Industrial’ one. Method: Assumptions; 1. The Post-Human condition is the impact of high-technology on art, creativity, philosophy and what it is to be human. The argument is made that the changes going on in science, culture and technology are so profound as to wipe away hundreds of years of beliefs and to show that we are moving away from a ‘human-centred’ universe to a ‘Post-Human’ one, hence the universe’s shifting focus away from man (i.e. the fleeting focus.) 2. The rise of technology indicates the potential to expand and automate production. In a society where work is the central activity it is important to look at the implications of the shifting away from the paradigm that the Industrial Revolution and Age was and is. Our maintenance of power of manufacturing and of even intellectual superiority is becoming increasingly illusionary in our scientific society, as technology is responsible for the ‘inhuman’ wielding and controlling more and more, hence the apparition is that of human dominance (i.e. the phantom of power).

Categories
2002 Abstracts Stage 3

Human Knowledge and Power

‘Among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words . . . only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible to for the figure of man to appear . . . It was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end,’ (Foucault, 1966, p422). ‘Power and knowledge directly imply one another . . . there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations,’ (Foucault, 1977, p27). Titles: 1) Is it possible for knowledge to exist independently from changes occurring throughout the history of humans? 2) Is it possible to have a shared system of knowledge, such as education, without the autonomy of the individual being destroyed? Concepts: By studying the ways of thought before and after the rise of science it is clear to see how much the ‘knowledge’ of the world has actually changed throughout time; ideas previously held to be true, and upon which many based their beliefs about reality, were disproved with new perspectives of gaining truth. If knowledge is continuously changing then how is it ever possible to say that anyone knows anything? If this is not possible then what is the aim of education, to bring autonomy or control? Objectives: · To show how theories about knowledge have changed throughout time, with particular reference to Foucault’s idea that knowledge is dependent upon the system of thought in a period of time. · To question whether knowledge exists merely as persisting human self-delusion; humans need to feel that they are able to understand the world otherwise there is no possibility of controlling it. · To apply these ideas to the educational system, questioning whether its aim is to encourage autonomous thinking within individuals, or whether it is merely a means of encouraging a stable society through control of what the individual is able to ‘know’ about the world. · To apply Foucault’s idea of ‘power/knowledge’ to ‘Life After George,’ a play illustrating the idea that humans, although enjoying the idea of being free, actually feel more autonomous in a society where their ideas and actions are placed under the control of others. Main Sources: Foucault, M, 1966, ‘The Order of Things – An Archaeology of the Human Sciences,’ Tavistock/Routledge, Guildford Foucault, M, 1977, ‘Discipline and Punish,’ Allen Lane, London Rayson, H, 2001, ‘Life After George,’ Nick Hern Books Limited, London