2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Do all Foetuses Have a Right to Life?

Aquinas: Deontological based theory.

The most basic principles to Natural Law involves a particular absolute truth: Everything has one nature that defines what it is

Aristotle: Aristotle argues that moral virtues are states of character lying at the mean between extremes of excess and deficiency.

Peter Singer: Analyses why and how living beings interests should be weighed. His ethics takes into consideration all species. He argues that not all things do have an inherent right to life, by virtue of being ‘human’.

Project aims:
To understand whether all foetuses do have a right to life, due to the fact they are a potential human being, or is this something that needs to be weighed against other factors?
To see whether Natural law theory still has a place in society? Is a strict deontological ethical theory out of tune with modern society?
Can virtue theory solve many of the problems we now face with the morality of abortion?
Is there any objective answer to such a sensitive moral dilemma?
What are the benefits of using an ethical theory over another when faced with moral dilemmas such as abortion?
Can traditional philosophy hold the solutions to modern day moral dilemmas?

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

Discussions on the nature of the animal liberation movement – can animal and human exist as equals and does the real possibility of a consensus in the debate exist?

The animal liberation movement was the first movement to be entirely founded by philosophers, and ended up being one of the most important and controversial movements in society then and now. Using the thought of Peter Singer within Animal Liberation and Alasdair MacIntyre within Dependent Rational Animals, among others, my essay aims to assess whether their theories seem intuitionally correct and/or comfortable, and if we can observe what their ideas describe in contemporary society with regard to our relationship with animals. I also take a look at the differences between UK legislation concerning animal welfare and that of other countries, attempting to conclude if the animal rights debate can ever be solved, and how indeed the world should go about doing so.

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.

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Do We Have the Right to Bear a Genetically Related Child? A Study into in vitro Fertilisation and its Moral Implications

In my project this year I examined in vitro fertilisation which is a procedure invented in 1976 for infertile couples which involves removing the woman’s eggs and fertilising them outside the body with the sperm of her husband or a donor. This often results in spare embryos being formed, which is a subject which divides England.

I looked at the status of the embryo and argued that it had no raised status to an egg or a sperm based on the philosophical arguments of ethicist Peter Singer.

I also looked at the work of Martha Nussbaum who is a modern contemporary thinker and has strong opinions regarding bodily health and bodily integrity.

The main thread of my argument was that we have a right to a genetically related child and these two thinkers helped me prove this.

Books and websites I used included
Nussbaum, M. (2011) Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Harvard University Press, USA
Singer, P. (2002) Unsanctifying Human Life. Blackwell Publishing Company, Oxford
Singer, P. (1998) A Companion to Bioethics. Blackwell Publishing Company, Oxford
Smith, R. (2012) Statistics Explained. Westminster, London.

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

Acceptable or Unacceptable? An Investigation into the Treatment of Mentally and Physically Disabled Individuals Detained in Institutions in Contemporary Society

The questions I will investigate are the following: • Is the way disabled individuals treated morally right? • Should the countries which allow such abusive treatment be allowed to join the European Union? • Why is torment rather than treatment continuing? • Do disabled people have human rights? The aim of this project is to investigate into the treatment of those with mental and physical disabilities, the way in which individuals are often from birth put into institutions and never endure a real life out of the walls of confinement. This project is a discussion into the inhuman and abusive treatment of many children, orphans in many cases and adults throughout the world’s institutions, and why this treatment occurs or if it there are plans to change it. Territory: Disability and Segregation. Object: The treatment of disabled people within institution in contemporary society. Concepts: Segregation and violation of human rights. Change: The treatment of mentally and physically disabled people changed over time from the ‘houses of confinement’ and the ‘birth of the asylum’. Thinkers: Michael Foucault- The history of madness, John Locke – Human rights and equality, Peter Singer – Equality and discrimination

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Disability. Is the way we Treat Disabled People Today Right?

Territory: Disability. Object: The treatment of disabled people. Concepts: Equality, Dependence. Change: Treatment of disabled people over time. Thinkers: Singer, MacIntyre. Questions I am going to consider: • The idea of ‘normality’, and whether a disabled person can constitute a ‘normal person’. • The idea of inclusion and whether disabled people can be considered to be included as normal members of our society. • Both of these things, normality and inclusion, relate to the concept of equality. Are disabled people equals to people without disabilities? • Is the language used in reference to disabled people appropriate or could it be improved upon? • How much does independence matter to a disabled person? Should they have greater independence despite their limitations? Sources: • ‘The Disability Reader’, edited by Tom Shakespeare, 1998, Continuum • ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’, Jean-Dominique Bauby, 2008, Harper Perennial • ‘Practical Ethics’, Peter Singer, 1993, Cambridge University Press • ‘Rational Dependent Animals, Alasdair MacIntyre, 1999, Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd.

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Can putting an end to your own life ever be morally acceptable?

Topic: In this project I am going to be looking at what triggers people to get to the stage where they feel the only way out is to put an end to their life. Aims: The aim of this project is to get a balanced view of how and why people reach the point where they believe that the only way forward is to bring about their own death. I shall attempt to do this by looking a very diverse set of sources in order to show that there can never be a reason that can be applied to all cases. I have chosen to look at the work of Peter Singer, Jonathon Glover and the Christian perspective on the value of life in order to discuss whether it can ever be morally acceptable to bring about your own death. I am also going to look at a range of plays mostly Greek tragedy in order to see how this topic is dealt with. Questions I shall address: Can putting an end to your own life ever be morally acceptable? Are there situations where this could be regarded as acceptable and situations where it certainly could not? Do we have an obligation to preserve life? How do people continue with their life after a failed suicide attempt? Will you always be affected by the decision you made to try and take your life? Key Sources: Peter Singer ‘Practical Ethics’, David. H.Rosen ‘A follow up study of persons who survived jumping from the Golden Gate and San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridges’, Sophocles ‘Oedipus’ ‘Antigone’, Euripides ‘Electra’, Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Football Season is over’ (Suicide Note), Henrik Ibsen ‘Hedda Gabler’

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

An Analysis of the Ethical Implications of Genetic Engineering: the exploitation of animals

TERRITORY: The exploitation of animals in genetic engineering. CHANGES: * Advancements in technology and therefore genetic engineering. * Attitudes towards illness and genetic defects. Potential changes: * Media hysteria towards genetic engineering. * The world as we currently know it to be. CONCEPTS: Ethical theorists – Peter Singer and Donna Haraway. Plus briefly also including; eugenics and the teachings of; Green-Peace, Catholicism, Judaism and Buddhism. Throughout my project I analyse the different forms of justifications offered for exploiting animals including; 1. Efficiency and practicalities. 2. Gaining knowledge and understanding. 3. Improving the environment. 4. Improving the human race. 5. Medical advancements. I offer examples for each of these justifications taken from Channel Four’s three-part documentary ‘Animal Farm’ broadcast on 19/3/07, 26/3/07 and 2/4/07. These justifications are juxtaposed with the work of Singer and Haraway, I also offer brief assessments of genetic engineering by; the philosophy of Eugenics, Green-Peace, Catholicism, Judaism and Buddhism in order to assess whether or not the exploitation of animals in genetic engineering can be justified.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Changing Views on Animal Rights through Time

Territory. I firstly looked into the fashion industry and how the use of fake fur was apparent within this industry. However, this lead me on to the enquiry of animal rights within today’s society and how this view has progressed or changed throughout time. Therefore my search extended to the implications of animal rights and how these rights are philosophically perceived through time, up until the present day. Aim My aim for this project is to understand how we, through time, have got to the age where real fur is being used within the fashion industry and how this choice has been affected by past philosophical thinkers and their influence on society. I will be looking at the relationship between humans and animals. I aim to introduce ethical thoughts and philosophical ideas and implement these into a comprehensible understanding of the change in attitude towards animal rights. Philosophers and sources. I am going to use Peter Singers All animals are equal, Mills’ Utilitarianism and Animal rights and Human Obligation by Tom Regan and Peter Singer. These will be my main texts. I will also use History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

The Evolution of Animal Rights

Objective: My objective in my project is to look at the way our perception of animals has developed through the ages in England, right up to the “Hunting Act” in 2004. I will attempt to understand why some people have different views then others, for instance to see if there is a direct correlation in opinion between those from a rural community and those that live in the countryside. I will address issues such as experimenting on animals, eating animals and using animals for sport (fox hunting). The philosopher that I will mainly focus on will be Peter Singer, who focused a lot of his work on arguing that animals should be treated as an equal to humans. I will look at his explanation of why animals should be given equal “consideration” as humans receive when deciding on how to act. Sources: As I have already mentioned the philosopher that I will mainly focus on is Peter Singer, so I will use his books, such as “Animal Liberation” and “Ethics”. Along with Singer, I will also look at philosopher such as Deleuze and theories such as Utilitarianism. I will also base a lot of my work on Roger Scruton’s book “Town and Country”, as he addresses the conflicting views of rural and urban communities. I will also look into the progress of the Animal Liberation movement, which can be found in publications such as “Horse and Hound”. Achievements: Having looked at the evolution of animal rights, a major reason for the change appears to be the reduction in contact with animals that those in urban communities now have. Where as previously animals were spread out all over the country, with the agricultural and industrial revolutions animals no longer occupied the cities. Therefore the majority of contact that those people who lived in cities had with animals was with their pets. They therefore looked upon wild animals in the same way they do their pets, as individuals. This is in contrast to those in the countryside whose ‘livestock’ have a ‘working’ purpose. Due to the urban understanding of animals their conservation attitudes often cause more harm to the species they are attempting to save then good. For instance, by making badgers protected species it has caused an outbreak of TB amongst badgers which is being spread to cattle.