2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Do the media overstep the mark when it comes to searching for the truth and is it necessary?

In this investigation, I answer my object of the extent to which the British Media has invaded the lives of the public. Is there a need to limit the freedom of the press, what has been done and what is left to do to ensure the protection of ordinary people? Using texts by Jeremy Bentham and the work of Hannah Arendt as my philosophical insight, I ask, are we too reliant on the press to pass us our information and if so who is to blame for the politically fuelled hate campaigns that arise towards certain groups, individuals and sectors in our society spearheaded by the media?

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

An Analysis of the Origins, Structure and Legitimacy of Conspiracy Theories Concerning the Coronavirus Pandemic: Utilizing the Falsification Principle to Distinguish Between Warranted and Unwarranted Conspiracy Theories.

In this project, I will start out by analysing the origin and structure of conspiracy theories in general. I will then conduct an analysis of the data regarding public opinion on various issues within the pandemic, using the previous sections to create assertions which aim to explain the statistical trends seen in figures 1-4. In search of providing a competent method to demarcate between warranted and unwarranted conspiracy theories — I will appeal to Karl Popper’s falsification principle, with attention also paid to his conception of conspiracy theories. Unintentionally, throughout my research, I have come to speculate that the real concern is not so much these obviously unfalsifiable conspiracies that the media would have you believe are incredibly prevalent — but the deflection away from the competence and authority of the government. I will reference Giorgio Agamben’s thoughts on this emerging structure of totalitarianism present within the government and argue that we ought not propose these unified conspiracy theories which require stretches of the imagination — but simply that we should approach the media and government with an unbiased eye, doing justice to the data in front of us.

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Quest for Truth: Is Propaganda the New Empiricism?

Throughout each period of history information has been controlled by a select few elite. From Alexander the Great to Martin Luther to the modern complex of mass media that provides us with information today. This project seeks to explain the way in which information has been controlled from one society to another with the advent of new technologies only perpetuating the problem. If Philosophy is a search for truth, then propaganda is the opposite of philosophy, it is the concealing of truth. Do we just accept what we are told or can we use philosophy to overcome propaganda?

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

‘Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty’. Is Science the Only Way to Truth?

Using a variety of historical texts and books written by key thinkers within the advancements made in knowledge, I will explore what is considered as true knowledge today and whether or not this is a strength or a weakness to our search for truth.

Religion – was once the dominant discourse of its time. It allowed other forms of knowledge a role in its teachings to an extent, for instance it used literature and often allowed science a say if it agreed with its teachings. However, it is arguably because of Christianity in the Western world that the notion of science as the only way to truth came about.

Enlightenment – Kant’s views on empowerment and emancipation ridding us of the Dark Age. Giving us more values and starting off progress in scientific thought.

Science – Move from Descartes and Newton’s thought and Darwin who still respected a God; to Einstein, Freud and Dawkins. No need for God, no intended purpose and a very monistic approach.

Mary Midgley- Her inspiring view that we do not need to fight for authority, we must work together (pluralism). Her disregard for the scientific notion that it stands alone – which will be my concluding remark.

Lyotard’s Postmodern – Shows how science refutes itself (link back to Kant). I will also explore the notion that advancements and modernity have taken away magic from the world – Roland Barthes (Paris doctors of post modernity).

A general discussion of whether purpose is important to us, whether we need it to function, to be ethical. How important is it to knowledge?

I will conclude that purpose is important and therefore perhaps the paths of knowledge I have discussed cannot give us both purpose and freedom. I offer literature as a new path to truth. It is unbiased and puts magic in the world, through appreciation. Keats – ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’. Greeks agreed with this notion and it teaches society essentials.

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Wittgenstein: A Journalist’s Ally? How Accurately Can One Portray an ‘Objective Reality’ through the Use of Language? Using Examples in Journalism, How Does Wittgenstein’s Thought Justify Their Bias?

I am exploring the ways in which we use language: its functions, methods and how we can determine intention. I am using specific examples in contemporary journalism as case studies to support Wittgenstein’s arguments for meaning in language. Looking at issues of bias, the ‘spin’ of particular words used, and how we can pertain towards ‘objective truth’. As a solution to the problem I assess the possibility of a ‘perfect language’. However this is then refuted in terms of its lack of ability to be implemented. Essentially, all knowledge and truth is determined by one’s social context (language game) and within a given system, we can have a relatively objective view of a general consented to ‘shared reality’.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

How Have the Concepts of Truth and Knowledge Developed Throughout History in Relation to Capitalism and Post Modernity?

Key thinkers:
Lyotard 
Foucault 
Gadamer 

Main texts used:
The Post Modern Condition 
Truth And Method 
The Scientific Revolution 
The Archaeology Of Knowledge

Other texts used:
The Philosophy Of Science 
Theology And Scientific Knowledge 
The Passion Of The Western Mind

I have used these texts and studied these thinkers in order to explore the concepts of truth and knowledge. Lyotard has given me an insight into the way science and technology function in the post modern condition and Kuhn has shown the alternative possibilities for the development of science. I have studied Foucault to understand the nature of power and how it relates to knowledge.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Nietzsche – Aesthetic Jesus?

How far can we know ‘truth’ From artistic works? Comparing Nietzsche’s thought that we are living in delusion with Ayn Rand’s bitter Objectivism. Can we know and reflect an external reality through painting? Using Nietzsche’s ‘On Truth and Lies in a non-moral sense’ and Rand’s ‘The Romantic Manifesto’. In essence, we cannot attain rigid truth, but there are degrees of truth which we can have access to through our senses, even if delusional, these hold some consistencies. With Euclidean geometry, traditional versus modern art, Adorno, and quantum art…

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?

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Atheism and the Relationship of Science and Religion within the Search for Epistemological Certainty

Territory: Richard Dawkins. Concepts: Atheism; the search for epistemological certainty; and the interaction of science and religion. I explore the following questions; Is there truth to the claim of Dawkins’ that atheism is necessitated by the natural sciences and is the only option for the serious, progressive and thinking person of our time? Where did this claim emerge from? How was it that the western mind moved from confidence in objective truth to an outright denial of objective truth? Why is nature conceptually malleable and is open to such different interpretations? Are science and religion locked in a battle to death? Is God relegated to the irrational, to the margins of culture, where he is embraced by deluded fanatics? The question of whether there is a God has not, despite the predictions of neo-Darwinists, gone away since Darwin. There may be minds on both sides of the argument that are closed, however the evidence and the debate are not. Scientists and theologians have much to learn from each other; perhaps a proper and right understanding of religion could give a good epistemological grounding to understand science by.

2006 Abstracts Stage 3

To what Extent is the ‘Truth Content’ within Bukowski’s Work Preserved during its Transition to Film, with Reference to Theodor Adorno’s Culture Industry

Territory: For my project is the life and literary works of Charles Bukowski, a German born American writer who lived from 1920-1994. Aims: In my project I intend to look at the motivation of Charles Bukowski when he wrote and to compare this with the motivation of those who have decided to adapt Bukowski’s work into film in the modern era. This is the change I intend to look at in my project, whether or not Bukowski’s work has become a commodity under the modern day culture industry that Adorno talks about. In order to do this I will look at the three adaptations into film: Tales of Ordinary Madness, Barfly, and Factotum