Why can’t evidence, reason, and morality work? And what’s wrong?

I honestly think something has gone awry in the way we talk about faith and religion. Disagreement and conflict have persisted throughout human history. Almost always, we end up talking over one another.

This is not because we’re stupid or ignorant about one another’s religion. It’s because we lack an epistemic common ground to engage in meaningful discourse.

We each come from an epistemic community (henceforth called “tradition”) and thus inherit the hermeneutics (theory of interpretation) inherent to that community. Since each tradition uses a unique set of language to describe the world around them, inter-tradition discourse is difficult.

As…


Does moral psychology really have a say in normative ethics?

A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a chicken. But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

No one but you knows about this grotesque behavior. No one is harmed by this man’s peculiar ritual with chicken carcasses. Do you think that man has done something morally wrong?

In his book The Righteous Mind, moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt sets out to seek humanity’s moral foundations. He wanted to convince us that morality is a broad and thick concept.

By giving us a thought experiment at the…


Am I too optimistic? Could things get even worse? I don’t know anymore.

Exactly a year ago, I was in Singapore finishing up my second year as an undergraduate. It was April when covid-19 hit Singapore hard. We went into a pseudo-lockdown. We called it a ‘circuit breaker’ — delusionally named to mislead all of us of the severity of the pandemic.

The country went into lockdown when I was about to finish up my semester. Following that was a 4-month long semester break. Without border restrictions, I’d usually travel back to my home country across the border.

But travelling back then had an ante. It wasn’t just the usual shitty swab tests…


Cheating is an art and a necessary social skill, but it’s also against the rules.

A few days ago, I caught a handful of students cheating on an assignment in one of my classes. My suspicions arose when a couple of honestly dumb students suddenly got all their multiple-choice questions (MCQs) correct while scoring close to 0 for the short answer questions.

The quiz was set so that students who completed the assignment would immediately receive feedback and a sample response. I conjectured that several students ‘collaborated’, and one person released the responses to the rest.

I was sceptical at first until I came across one student’s submission.

He literally copied and pasted my sample…


Why are most Asian societies having a hard time justifying liberalism?

In the past few decades, many Asian societies are fighting their own government against allegedly tyranny and suppression against individual liberty. Most involve the fight for a version of the First Amendment. Most demanded some form of freedom of speech and expression.

Hong Kong made headlines in 2019 in its protest against the tyranny of mainland China. Myanmar is now making headlines for its fight against a military dictatorship.

You’d think the biggest failure that happened in 1989 Tiananmen would deter any forms of future public protests, but it didn’t.

Social reforms don't happen overnight. One of the biggest problems…


Are we really born “free?”

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

This is the first article of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNHDR). Though it seems intuitive and commonsensical to say something like this — and for all to accept it as truth — in today’s world, I cannot help but ask a very provocative but important question: Why are all human beings born “free?”

It might come as a surprise to most of us that many early philosophies didn’t develop sophisticated conceptions of freedom as the West. For instance, Chinese philosophy didn’t develop a system of…


If it’s morally wrong to condemn an innocent life to death, then it’s also morally wrong to procreate.

Imagine a world where we’ve invented a drug that would painlessly kill a person. Once administered, this drug will kill the person anytime after a year. But it will only activate during a person’s sleep. And the victim won’t feel a thing.

Now, imagine that you woke up one day in a prison cell with utterly no recollection of who you are. The warden tells you that you’ve been hit hard on the head by an inmate, and you’ve lost every major memory of who you are (except your name).

You are then told about the drug and that you’ve…


Hi, yes. An example is one that I've said. The critics of science are often mischaracterised as being anti-science.

Another example that is etched in my memory is the Popper-Kuhn debate, where Popper charges Kuhn as being irrational and a relativist; the latter is mostly true. Here's a reference:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/what-thomas-kuhn-really-thought-about-scientific-truth/

I've also argued for scientific holism and value-ladenness in one of my articles. And I've been charged for being anti-science in the comments - as expected - by supposed scientists and engineers.


The mysterious ubiquity of sexist philosophy since ancient times.

Human prejudice has existed throughout the entirety of human history. We discriminate against all sorts of things: race, gender, religion, culture… you name it.

Surprisingly, the origins of these modes of prejudice haven’t been well studied, even today. We just know, say, sexism exists. Yet, when asked why it exists in the first place, we don’t really have an answer.

Sure, scientific proposals such as biological determinism and political theories of patriarchal power exist. But none adequately addresses the origins of the meta-narratives that perpetuate these prejudicial ideas.

In this article, I want to discuss several early philosophies that helped…


Competence precedes freedom

While most people from Western liberal societies like the US enjoy the privilege of saying whatever the hell is on their minds, over half the world doesn’t (for example, see here).

Conceptions and practices of free speech have long been debated since its inception. Contemporary notions of free speech are derived from the Enlightenment. Its pioneers like Mill and modern defenders like Dewey have argued that free speech is a right everyone should possess.

The adoption of free speech is fairly recent in human history. For the longest periods of time, humanity didn’t see the need to spit out what’s…

Wei Xiang

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy

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