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About Me

Hi there, I’m Wei Xiang — yes, that’s my first name. I’m ethnically Chinese, so there’re two ‘words’ in my first name. But I wasn’t born in China. I’m Malaysian. My friends have called me Philokid. That’s because philosophy students are very (very) rare in Asia.

If it helps, I’m an INTJ. In short, I offend people quite a lot, both with my eccentric ideas and behavior. It’s never my intention to offend, but I’ll find some way to do so — something I’m not proud of, of course.

I’m currently studying philosophy at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. I’ve been…

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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…

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… it is not so much that bureaucratic procedures are inherently stupid, or even that they tend to produce behavior that they themselves define as stupid — though they do do that — but rather, that they are invariably ways of managing social situations that are already stupid because they are founded on structural violence. — David Graeber, Dead Zones of the Imagination

Two years ago, when the pandemic hit Asia, everyone went into shut down mode. I was stuck in a foreign country of Singapore, contemplating whether to return home.

All the administrative nonsense aside, there’s one particularly damning…

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Most philosophers are atheists.

The PhilPapers Survey asked 931 academic philosophers if they were “atheists,” “theists,” or “others.” 678 of them (or about 73%) identified themselves as “atheists.” About 15% said they were theists, and 13% responded “others” (which I take to be “agnostic.”)

In the philosophy department, that’s a remarkable number. Convergence on any philosophical topic is rare, especially ethics. As a comparison, philosophers agree more on only two other topics: the nature of our external world (i.e., do objects really exist?) and the nature of science (i.e., does science refer to real things?) …

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I’ve come across many concerns about how this pandemic might end up creating and justifying authoritarian states. They’re all over the news and social media. For instance, The Diplomat, in commenting on the political climate of South East Asia, writes:

Throughout 2020 analysts were watching for signs of dissent, of the pandemic being the casus belli that stalls Southeast Asia’s steady march towards authoritarianism. But history tells us that people don’t rebel when times are at their worst, but rather when newfound optimism is dashed.

The analyses aren’t restricted to South East Asia, though. Many analysts argued the threat of…

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God does not exist.

This is the first tenet of atheism. Atheism, as its etymology implies, is a negative thesis denying the existence of God, and by extension, theistic doctrines. A negative thesis, contrary to a positive one, seeks to undermine a claim. For instance, “There’s a cup” would be a positive claim. It claims that something exists. “There is no cup” would be a negative claim. It denies that something exists.

Atheism is unappealing to many because it’s a strictly negative thesis. That means, it seeks only to deny the existence of God. However, it doesn’t offer any alternative…

Intellectual History

Image accessed on Pixabay for free.

When Darwin first conceived evolution by natural selection, little did he know that his groundbreaking biological theories will cause a cascade of intellectual discrimination that ultimately explode with the first and second world wars. After that, many thinkers turned their backs against the socially teleological interpretation of “survival of the fittest.”

“What’s the purpose of evolution?” was perhaps one of the many dangerous questions social philosophers and scientists were thinking of after Darwin published The Descent of Man. One person who offered an answer was Herbert Spencer, who coined the wildly popular phrase “survival of fittest.” The social Darwinism Spencer…

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Recently, philosopher Julian Baggini posted a tweet lamenting how people keep misreading him despite his conscious effort to make his writings idiot-proof.

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China’s announced a nationwide crackdown on the private tutoring industry. Institutions offering private education are now forced to register themselves as not-for-profit. They’re also banned from offering core-curriculum — examinable subjects — tutoring during weekends and holidays. In short, the Chinese government is stopping people from making dough from private tutoring.

As someone who’s currently working as a private tutor and someone who’s been a consumer of the industry, I genuinely feel ambivalent about China’s move. But one thing’s clear; profit has seriously corrupted education. I’ve seen management get so obsessed over making money that they’ve completely changed how education…

Intellectual History

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Bill Gates warned us about the imminent threat of a pandemic more than 6 years ago. We didn’t listen. Indeed, anyone who’s paid the slightest attention to the various viral outbreaks in human history will see an obvious pattern. Novel viral outbreaks occur every decade.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen H1N1, Ebola, and SARS, to mention a few. Yet, Covid-19 is evident we’re all incompetent in dealing with this seemingly predictable threat.

Gates also warned us about Climate Change. But let’s see how humanity’s ready to screw it up again.

One of my country’s national visions set in…

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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