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.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Internet Surveillance, Panopticism, and Identity

An investigation into the relationship between internet surveillance and panopticism, and how this impacts the identities of internet users.

Case Study – The Golden Shield Project: An in-depth look into China’s strict surveillance system and how it’s panoptic nature impacts Chinese citizens.

Key Theorists

Michel Foucault: Foucault provides a theory of surveillance that explains panopticism and demonstrates how constant surveillance, such as that seen on the internet, can be used as a tool for political power and oppression.

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975)

Zygmunt Bauman: Bauman explains why identity has become such a large issue in late modernity and why an identity is difficult to cultivate in the digital age, relating to internet surveillance and censorship online.

Identity (2004)

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

How does Online Surveillance Serve to Assert Power and Reduce Autonomy

I wanted to investigate online surveillance and how it asserts power and reduces autonomy

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

The Right to Privacy: A philosophical investigation in to the notion of a right to privacy in contemporary society; looking at the ways in which this right is upheld/struck down

“To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world”

Anthony Burgess

We live in a society today in which privacy concerns seem to be cropping up more and more frequently. This essay basis its’ notion of a right to privacy on Warren and Brandeis’s article for the Harvard Law Review titled The Right to Privacy, and investigates the ways in which the culture today strikes down this right.

My essay focuses on the primary ways in which the notion of privacy has been struck down in the post 9/11 society that we live in. In doing this, I was able to use the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and John Rawls, among many other philosophers, to formulate a response to this abolition of privacy in the society we live in. Their philosophies provide us with a thoughtful response to the factors affecting our right to privacy, and henceforth allows for a thorough investigation into the notion of privacy from a perspective not entirely common.

‘Perhaps the most striking thing about the right to privacy is that nobody seems to have any very clear idea what it is.’
– Judith Jarvis Thomson

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

MI5: Applicability in a Democratic Society

My project is based on an examination into the role and appropriateness of MI5 in light of the perceived democratic value of an individual’s right to privacy, which MI5 necessarily violate for the sake of national security.

My question is whether MI5 is justified in its approach to violate an individual‘s right to privacy, thereby determining its applicability within a democratic society.

I intend to investigate this applicability with respect to the concepts of secrecy, security, and privacy rights. From this, I will establish the condition that we implicitly agree to neglect the transparency of MI5’s operation for the preservation of national security, that through accountability provided by the government will uphold one’s rights to privacy as far as possible. However, we can never guarantee that MI5 do not unlawfully violate one’s rights to privacy. Therefore, through a philosophical investigation of:

1) Kant’s public and private reason, universal principle of Right, external freedom, and the necessity of coercion from authority;
2) Hegel’s conception of the ethical life, citizens disposition to trust the state, freedom between the suffusion of the objective and subjective wills;
3) Marx’s ideological critique, commodification of intelligence, and questioning to what extent individual rights exist; I will deduce to what extent such a condition can be affirmed, thereby determining the applicability of MI5 within a democratic society.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Safe as Houses? Public versus Private: a Philosophical Look into Housing in Britain Compared with that Found in Denmark

My project is an investigation into the housing market and provision in Great Britain and whether its needs alteration and if so what and how. This is done by direct comparison to Danish Housing provision.

I will be looking into the current system in Britain whilst referring to three economic philosophers: Marx, Keynes and Freidman. I will also consider whether our system is satisfactory and just. In addition, I will focus on the positives and negatives of a housing economy compared with Government provision.

I took sources from the people affected by private investment housing: the tenants of the Duke of Devonshire.

In interviewed those in council housing and those who owned privately.

I also looked into Government rental documents and the statistics in the private housing market in the Estate Agent ‘Savills’ review

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

Public versus Private: ‘the Abolition of Man’

The project will focus on the dis-unified status of truth, fractured worldviews and the public versus private debate; all of which are working against any conception of a holistic worldview. During the process of Secularisation of the West, a sharp divide has emerged between the private and the public sphere, determining the boundary lines of those things in the private sphere limiting them to the private life and allowing those in the public sphere to have full reign. This revolution started in academia and its growth has been so subtle yet thorough that it is now a core belief, not just of the academic world, but deeply engrained into the mind of every Western citizen…

1. John Rawls’ Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical “…open mindedness, not conviction is the mark of a good liberal citizen.” The modern liberal’s faith in the primacy of reason and commitment to neutrality means that, direct appeals to religious belief in the public square are impermissible since they do not accord with Rawls’ public reason.

2. Fact versus Value Assumption: reliable knowledge comes only from the realm of scientific facts, which are objective, rational, value-free and neutral. Then there’s realm of values which may be personally meaningful or part of our cultural tradition, but they have no intellectual content.

3. Truth: The Gatekeeper Religion no longer has a seat at the table of public discourse. “The most powerful gatekeeper is not a group of people, but in the realm of ideas: It is the dominant definition of truth;” What is today’s definition of truth? Truth is split into two separate and contradictory categories.

4. Secularism: A Neutral State? “[It is] quixotic, in any event, to attempt to construct an airtight barrier between religiously grounded moral discourse…and [secular] discourse in public political argument” Does liberalism provide a neutral framework? Is the secular state neutral? Or does it too carry underlying philosophical assumptions?

5. Historical Roots Tracing back where this thinking began; Plato’s twofold view of the world; Augustine’s ‘Two Cities’ and the Church Fathers; St Aquinas’ nature-grace tension; the rediscovery of Aristotle, then the effects of the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment and finally the rise of Darwinism.

6. Necessary Illusions, Convenient Falsehoods What are the effects on the modern self? “A human being is simultaneously a machine and a sentient free agent, depending on the purposes of the discussion.” The self is forced to affirm ideals like freedom despite it not ‘fitting’ in their worldview. Can a unified and holistic status of truth be recovered?