Issue 8 | November 2020


Gilmore Girls: The Irigarayan “Mother-Daughter” relation in 21st Century Television

Kitty Lloyd

The following essay seeks to posit the television show Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) as an actualisation of Luce Irigaray’s theoretical work regarding the mother-daughter relation. Such a show exclusively privileges the mother-daughter bond as its core relationship and represents a mother and daughter relationship which espouses synergy and inter-subjectivity. The critiques of the show, which problematise this maternal bond, reflect a wider cultural impulse to maintain matricide.


Reading Adorno with Fisher: Capital, (Inter)passivity and Cultural Malaise

Will Partridge

In this paper, I consider Adorno and Horkheimer’s conception of the culture industry with reference to Mark Fisher’s notion of capitalist realism and Robert Pfaller’s concept of interpassivity, and assess the viability of art under capitalism. Ultimately, I argue that the omnipresence of the culture industry renders Adorno’s pessimism warranted; under capitalism, art becomes an instrument of market relations and, because any critique of capitalism is nullified by its subsumption into the culture industry, there is no potential for change.


Coronavirus Vaccine Development: Intellectual Property and International Poverty

Oscar Delaney

Times of crisis often reveal the fatal flaws of pre-existing systems and precipitate radical change.  Could Coronavirus provide such an impetus for reform of our intellectual property regime? Oscar Delaney argues for Thomas Pogge’s and Aidan Hollis’s proposal, the Health Impact Fund, which incentivises socially-valuable innovation while keeping prices down.


The Stateless and the State: A Modern Social Contract?

Josh Grainger

This essay explores how traditional and even modern conceptions of social contract theory prove to be inadequate when approached critically in an increasingly displaced and diverse world. The social contract remains a key element of political thought; and yet, questioning its foundations reveals that it has always been heavily influenced by less than objective measures of personhood and status. This ultimately weakens its reliability as a tool for use in various political contexts, especially in today’s socio-political landscape where refugees are rendered “stateless.”


Foucault and the Unravelling of Liberalism

Kevin le Merle

Michel Foucault’s understanding of the Enlightenment as a continuation of previous historical trends, rather than a break in favour of the increased power of hegemonic Reason, cast a new and unfavourable light on liberalism. Similarly, his claim that liberal societies were ‘demonic’ served to excoriate liberalism’s standpoint of moral superiority. However, as I argue in this paper, Foucault’s lack of a clear normative framework, as well as his disregard for the specificity of the historical contexts he draws upon, ultimately attenuate the damage his work is capable of inflicting upon liberalism.


Creativity x Autonomy: Instrumentalising Autonomy under Oppressive Circumstances

Madison Mamczur

This essay examines adaptive preference formation, and answers the question of whether it is disrespectful to identify a causal link between individuals’ preferences and the circumstances of their oppression. I argue that this causal link is critical to maintaining the rational will of individuals with adaptive preferences, and actually confers respect. In addition, I propose the notion of creativity as a useful component both for manipulating a renewed adaptive preference and for challenging the fixedness of preference sets in adaptive preference theory. 


A Buddhist Perspective on Suicide

Chara Scroope

Several philosophical and religious perspectives regard suicide as violating the inherent sanctity of human life. Buddhism is sometimes mistakenly seen as ‘annihilistic’ or ‘pessimistic’ due to its view about suffering (duḥkha) and, thus, as endorsing suicide. This short video addresses this misattribution, exploring a Buddhist perspective on the ethics of suicide and subsequently providing an alternative argument opposing suicide that is not based on the ethical principle of ‘non-injury’ (ahiṃsā).


Kantian Aesthetics and Morality: A Comparison of the Beautiful and the Sublime

David Fan

In Critique of Judgment, Kant attempts to bridge the separation between sensible and supersensible realms through his analyses of the beautiful and the sublime. This essay compares the beautiful and the sublime and argues that, according to Kant, both aesthetic categories indirectly support our moral agency. Given its close link to morality, the ontological issue of the sublime is also discussed.


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Little Aphrodisiac

Marnie Ball

This poem—based on the watercolour artworks of Monica Behrens and Rochelle Haley depicting flora, fauna, and sex toys—is a celebration of autonomous, feminine expressions of sexuality. Such experiences are presented as powerful and deliberately subversive to patriarchal and hegemonic gender constructions. The artworks, poem and accompanying rationale both champion and challenge the established philosophies of Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, bell hooks, Louis Althusser, and Marxist feminists more generally. 


The True Point of Departure in the Early Modern Period

Rory Brown

The central argument of this paper is that while Descartes and Hobbes were radical thinkers in many ways, their thinking remained influenced by the Aristotelian tradition and it was not until the advent of Spinoza that the philosophical revolution wholly manifested itself. I substantiate this argument by tracing the epistemological and metaphysical systems employed by these three thinkers, highlighting similarities and disparities in order to illustrate how their methodologies and conclusions changed over time.


Existential Gravity: Relationships and Nietzsche’s Eternal Return in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Serena May

Friedrich Nietzsche’s eternal return thought experiment provokes us to think about the weight our actions would have if, after this life, we had to relive the same life for eternity. This recurrence, which is analogous to the concept of fate, would create existential gravity. Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, asserts that as a consequence of Nietzsche’s “mad myth” being false, our lives are existentially light. This essay argues that Kundera believes humans long for repetition and a determined fate as this causes a burden of obligation which creates meaning and weight in their lives. 


Plato’s Bakery: A Dialogue on Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”

Sourena Borzoo

This dialogue parodies and critically evaluates Plato’s theory of Forms in relation to his Allegory of the Cave, likening it to the recent COVID-19 quarantine. It includes Aristotle’s criticisms of Plato’s ideas, in conjunction with my own.


Understanding Climate Activism using Arendt’s Theory of Political Judgement

Talia Fell

Dissatisfied with the government’s lack of action towards addressing climate change, many people, including climate scientists, are turning towards activism in an attempt to create positive and tangible change. In this essay, I use Hannah Arendt’s concepts of ethical and political judgement and the role of the spectator from her “Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy” in order to explore the role of the climate change activist. I argue that the climate change activist can be understood as a spectator who, when united with others, has the potential to “woo” others into agreement on matters of climate change.


Nietzsche on Nihilism: Terrifying Reality or Liberating Opportunity?

Thomas Ross

Friedrich Nietzsche famously claimed that “God is dead” and that the modern world was therefore facing a Nihilistic crisis. This paper examines what exactly Nietzsche meant when he talked about the philosophical concept of Nihilism, and explores his claims that Nihilism is both terrifying and (potentially) liberating.


Featured image by Jon Grogan via Unsplash