2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Who is responsible for actions of violence in warfare and how important is the impact of individuality in a military system on moral judgements?

This project intends to investigate moral responsibility in war especially particularly war crimes and actions of violence. It takes inspiration from the work of Hannah Arendt and her report on the banality of evil. It also looks at the Military Philosophy of Carl Von Clausewitz to understand the influence of military doctrine and the establishment on moral thinking. Finally it will discuss the Phenomenon of Dirty hands and the implications it has for how actions of state impact societies ethics and the burden of personal guilt to provide an interesting take on western military culture and liability.

2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Should the failure to give an account of oneself be used as an explanation for violent behaviour? Explore this in relation to the television series ‘You’.

In this essay, I explore if a failure to give an account of oneself should be used as an explanation for violent behaviour, with reference to the Netflix television series ‘You’. I reference Butler’s account of oneself, where we will often face opacity as we come across barriers in our own self-narration. This occurs because we are not in control of our narrative origins, nor the social norms that were shaped by a pre-existing society. I also reference Laplanche’s enigmatic demand of the Other, where we possess a radical dependence on our caregivers from the moment we are born and discover that we are vulnerable to them. I also reference Levinas’ face-to-face relation with the Other, where we are met with the unavoidable face of the Other, and we must recognise our inherent responsibility to appeal to their presence, with an obligation to live a life of peaceful pacifism. However, the fictional serial killer Joe Goldberg subverts the notion of non-violence as he suffers with numerous neurological disorders and is unable to give an account of himself due to his traumatic and neglectful childhood, whereby his psyche protected his egoistic sense of self through repression.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

In Defence of Violence: Why Violence is a Necessary Aspect of Protest

The riots of 2011 were particularly significant due to the rate they spread nationwide, and the prevalence of looting and the perceived greed of those involved, leading many to believe they were caused by nothing more than opportunism.


Come to an understanding of how we define violence, using R.P. Wolff’s On Violence and Žižek’s Violence
To compare and contrast the theories of the various key thinkers and how they understand violence
To then apply these theories to the events of 2011 and understand why the riots took place, and what we can learn from them as a result

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Hooliganism Project

Object/Territory: Football hooliganism is organised violence between football supporters and this will be used as a case study to assess whether violence can ever be seen as justifiable.

Philosophy: Sigmund Freud provides a basis for why humans are so interested in violence through his Narcissism of Minor Differences and the Human Inclination for Aggression. This will be used to assess whether this violence is truly inevitable and thus immoral for Kant, or whether the life of a hooligan could possibly provide the affirmative life that Nietzsche preaches is needed.

Outline: If violence is inevitable then it is surely justifiable. However why must this manifest as football hooliganism? And even if violence is taken as inevitable, does this make its morally permissible. Using the contemporary studies in football hooliganism to assess the physical cost, and combining this with the idealisation that hooliganism has, will create an answer to whether this activity is morally acceptable. If the modern conception fails, can a future one succeed?

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Cinema Violence. Quentin Tarantino in the World of Aesthetics and the Problem of Beauty in Evil

Territory: Cinema Violence

Object: Quentin Tarantino

Concepts: Audience emotion, aesthetic formalism, the problem of beauty in evil.

Philosophers: Noël Carroll, Mary Devereux, Joseph Kupfer, Quentin Tarantino

– To better understand the arguments put forward by Quentin Tarantino for his use of violence.
– To further explore these ideas in the context of philosophy of audience and aesthetics.

– How has violent cinema developed?
– What is Tarantino’s role in the history of cinema violence?
– What is Tarantino’s relationship with his audience?
– What is Tarantino’s aesthetic philosophy?
– Where does Tarantino fit in with the problem of finding beauty in evil?

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

The Morality of Violent Video Games

Links between violent video games and highly publicised violent crimes have resulted in society continuously questioning the morality behind violent games such as Grand Theft Auto III. From a philosophical perspective can violent video games be deemed moral?

Mill: An action is moral if its consequences result in more good than harm for the majority. Mill therefore would not have condemned violent video games as there is not enough evidence to suggest a link between violence in games and violence in reality. However, video games are classed as a lower pleasure and so must be played in moderation.

Kant: Kant was concerned with activities that result in an increased propensity for one’s duties to be violated. As with Mill, Kant would not condemn video games as not enough evidence exists to suggest one is more likely to violate their duties as a result of violent game play. In multiplayer gaming one can use other players as means to an end, which goes against Kant’s categorical imperative. However, Kant would view this purely as bad gamesmanship.

Aristotle: Aristotle’s main concern with violent video games would have been the effect they have on one’s character. He proposed that overexposure to violent acts damages one’s personality. Therefore Aristotle would have condemned violent video games purely for the effect extreme violence has on one’s character

The current world of violent video gaming with its age limits may fall successfully into the category of moral but what future technology has in store will bring with it a whole new set of issues.

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Can I Morally Justify a Career in The British Armed Forces?

– For my project I’m going to be answering a question very close to my heart, of whether or not I can morally justify a career in the British Armed forces.

– I’ll be challenging whether or not I can justify such violence through primarily referencing Levinas’ phenomenological conception of the other in “Totality and Infinity” (1961)

– I’ll be judging the politics of the current operations of the British Armed Forces through Rawl’s political conception of Justice as Fairness based upon his “overlapping consensus”

– I’ll also be attempting to “deconstruct” Derrida style the true meanings and purposes of our nation’s political actions overseas that are behind the political rhetoric we find ourselves in.

– Though I’m asking whether or not I can join the British Armed forces I’ll inevitably be focusing on American and NATO foreign policy as in the present climate our military action seems inextricably linked to these foreign interests

– The current war in Afghanistan will be my primary focus, as it’s a highly controversial conflict that could either legitimise NATO as a force for justice or as a power-hungry aggressor in the 21st Century depending upon the outlook taken and the yet-to-be-seen outcome of the conflict

– I’ll also be tentatively trying to judge the moral justifications of conflicts that look likely in the near future as these will have a direct effect on me should I join the British Armed forces

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Violence Vindicated: Can Violence as a Means of Protest Be Justified?

The recent surge in protest activity both nationally and internationally and the inclusion of violent means within these protests opens up a debate as to whether a violent protest can ever be justified. The aim of my project is to explore the possibility of a justification of violence; my context is therefore that of ethics, politics and law. Through the method of axiological critique, I intend to consider the value of violence and whether it is applicable in a protest situation. As protest is generally a part of the political realm it is a political justification of violence that I aim to find. The main philosophical theories that are engaged with in the project are theories which closely explore the notions of protest and violence and are therefore extremely relevant. They are:

– The Just War Theory 
– John Rawls’ Theory of Civil Disobedience 
– Sartre’s discussion of violence 
– Foucault’s discussion of resistance

With regards to the Just War theory, I aim to establish whether the principles which already justify violence in war can justify violence in a protest. An exploration of John Rawls’ Civil Disobedience argues the case for non-violent means of protest. In contrast, Sartre’s discussion of violence considers the necessity of violence as a form of protest. Exploring violent protest in relation to Foucault means considering his views on resistance and power.

Ultimately, I hope to reach a credible conclusion as to whether violence can be proven to be a justified means of protest using the support of political philosophical theories.

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

In 2009: Can the Pen be Mightier than the Sword?

During the course of this project my main objectives are to explore the purpose of war throughout history, to assess what can make war morally justifiable, man’s natural tendencies towards violence and to explore the place of war within modern society with policing factions such as NATO and nuclear deterrents. The main question asked within this essay is: with man’s natural disposition for violence, can the pen EVER be mightier than the sword?

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation into the Origins and Implications of Football Related Violence

• My aim in my project is to give a detailed discussion into the origins and implications of football related violence. In doing this I want to emphasise certain aspects of football related violence which make it such a serious problem. In researching this topic it became apparent that football violence is seen by most as being nothing more than physical outburst between alcohol induced ‘thugs’, I want to show that football related violence is much more than this. • In doing this I will give a detailed discussion on the origins and how the world wide problem of football related violence is seen as an ‘English disease’. From this point I will look at the implications of football related violence, for example, fascism and racism and related them to the work of George Bataille. This project will establish that acts of football related violence are much more than a ‘thugs’ battle.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

In Contemporary Film, what does Violence Represent?

My project will be based on the violence in films. During the course of my work I will be looking at three different films- “A Clockwork Orange” (written by Anthony Burgess and adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick), “The Football Factory” (written by John King and adapted to film by Nick Love) and the infamous “Fight Club” (written by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by David Fincher). Questions 1) Why do people take part in violent acts? 2) What do these acts represent? Are they pure needless violence or related to something, such as a sense of community, boredom or simply fulfilling a sensual need? 3) What can we take from the conclusions drawn? Can we somehow relate the violence in films to the violence we see in things like football hooliganism and the rise of violent sports? How does violence relate to my concepts? Concept 1: Religiosity. George Bataille and Emile Durkheim. The pair’s idea of religion as a unifying force means that they may feel that the characters in A Clockwork Orange are substituting conventional/organised religion for their own violence based religion. Concept 2: Alienation. Karl Marx. Alienation indicates the separation of things that genuinely belong together. In regards to humans, it refers to the alienation of people from features of “human nature”. People may argue that violence is part of the human nature, and so through the repression of this violent streak, we feel alienation.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Censorship of Violent Films 1975 – 2006

Territory: Having watched the short surrealist film ‘Un Chien Andalou’ (1929) I began to consider how the explicit violence demonstrated in slicing a woman’s eye had affected its audience. How would the censors react to such a film today? With this in mind I began to watch a series of controversial violent films, which had been produced from the late 1970’s to present day that had caused the British Board of Film Classification to take swift censorship action. My territory therefore is the change in censorship of violent films between the years 1975 and 2006.
Aims and Objectives: In this project I will aim to show that the many incarnations of censorship over the years are entirely contradictory and do not achieve the aims the B.B.F.C. intends of them. In addition to this I aim to demonstrate that the notion of violence has been severely misunderstood and discredited through ignorant dogma and that it is in fact a necessary and active part of human consciousness. Having watched a short catalogue of films, such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) the Evil Dead (1981) and Fight Club (1999), I looked at how they had been viewed by the B.B.F.C. and what actions had been taken. From here I looked at how things such as the invention of the video cassette recorder and the internet had created an impact on the censorship of films.
Philosophical Ideas. The main philosophical concepts that were drawn upon come from Georges Bataille, while thinkers Bandura conducted experiments to see how television violence affected children’s behaviour. Bataille argues that eroticism, violence and transgression will ultimately defeat the taboos of society and that they are the key to changing bourgeois attitudes. This will be held in contrast to Moralist thinkers such as Mary Whitehouse and Margaret Thatcher!
Overview. A basic study of the relationship between film censorship and violence. How censorship justifies its position through psychological, sociological and philosophical means. How film censorship cannot achieve its aims. How violence is an important part of the human consciousness. By utilising violence we can transgress bourgeois attitudes as indicated by Bataille, thus removing unwarranted taboo and dogma in society.