Metaphor and Metaphysics in Søren Kierkegaard’s Either/Or 

Søren Kierkegaard’s existential insight sometimes eclipses his literary achievement. His command of metaphor, in particular, is part of his overlooked literary gift: his writing style involving pseudonyms and fragmentary, inconsistent personal accounts has perhaps perplexed many, but one can hardly deny his genius in constructing vivid metaphors that serve an indispensable role throughout his authorship. In addition to initiating an existential mood, Kierkegaard’s metaphors help his readers imagine a profound, exquisite reality rich in personal details and feelings. In his early major work Either/Or, for example, metaphors play a predominant role.

Heteronormativity and Gender Performance in Chinese Society

In Imitation and Gender Insubordination, Judith Butler boldly claims that human identity is not associated with what one is or has, but what one does. In particular, gender and sexual identities are never as static as essentialists may expect it to be, but a set of performative actions subject to socio-political expectations and prevalent cultural norms. Butler fiercely argues against the fixed signification of gender and problematises sexuality discourse that is subject to power-knowledge relationships in society.

Beyond Meaning: Film-Being and The Production of Presence

In this essay, I contrast Gumbrecht’s insight with the cognitivist and Daniel Frampton’s phenomenological views on cinematic experiences. Borrowing scenes from Terrance Malik’s film The Tree of Life, I propose that cinematic expressions can create presence besides communicating stable, concrete meanings that mostly engage one’s mind. I side with Gumbrecht and argue that merely attributing or reconstructing the meaning of a film, cognitively or phenomenologically, limits the philosophising potential of the medium. After all, film intrinsically philosophises as a physical reality, or film-being.

On Complex Anachronies and Defied Anticipations in The Swimmer

I argue that the narrator’s most valuable contribution is his selectivity of events and descriptive vocabularies in the two contrasting halves of the story. Such selectivity captures the nostalgic psychology of the drunk focaliser and keeps defying my expectations in the second half of the narrative. It also forces me to construct a different chronological order of events and modify my understanding of the narrative.

Our Lives Are Still Our Own: A Nietzschean Reading of Cloud Atlas

I explore how the narrative structure of Cloud Atlas helps to demonstrate Friedrich Nietzsche’s arguments about the death of God and eternal recurrence. Moreover, I consider how the film, inspired by the Buddhist concept of karma, challenges Nietzsche’s individualistic solution to nihilism and how Nietzsche may respond to the challenge.

The Importance of Cultural Context and The Cultural Significance of Texts

In this essay, I consider how New Criticism and Russian Formalism challenge Schleiermacher’s pioneering insight on the importance of context. I argue that neither of the two schools is persuasive enough for me to overlook Schleiermacher’s emphasis on the cultural context of literature.

The Myth of Infinity: Does Platonism Pave the Stairs to God?

This is the final paper written for my first independent research. As usual, I only post the introduction and the conclusion here. Please feel free to contact me via email (refer to the Home page) if you would like to read some of my arguments in detail or offer any critic.  Introduction This paper explores… Continue reading The Myth of Infinity: Does Platonism Pave the Stairs to God?

The New Cosmic Story by John Haught (2017): A Revival of Cosmic Optimism?

I find Haught's book a worthy addition to the literature dealing with religious awakening and its conflict with modern sciences and meaning in a cosmic perspective. The ambitious, exciting book would have been clearer if Haught can explain in details why he makes certain associations, and why those associations are indeed true besides their psychological and religious appeal.

China’s Reluctance to Develop its Soft Power

Soft power, often associated with a country’s social and cultural charisma, allows a state to attract other states and obtain its preferred outcomes through non-coercive means (Nye 2012, 151). While many developed economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan have invested substantially in developing soft power, China, the emerging economic and military superpower in today’s world, largely fails to develop its soft power that matches its economic and military expansion.

The Importance of Confidence: Revisit the Kripkenstein Paradox and the Failure of Lewis’s Naturalist Response

Wittgenstein’s rule-following paradox states that “no course of action could be determined by a rule, because every course of action can be made out to accord with the rule” (201). Kripke regards the rule-following paradox as the central problem of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and a new form of philosophical scepticism (7). He draws parallels between language use and rule-following as well as between the meaning of language and a course of action.

Recommended Reading List for GP and SAT

These lists of books and movies aim to improve Pre-University students’ cultural literacy about the Western civilisation, or in particular, the English-speaking world. The lists also help them acquire broader, more insightful perspectives for critical writing classes. Compiled based on personal engagement and scholarly assessments, the reading/watching lists contains essential selections that are meaningful for the preparations of standardised tests and undergraduate education.

On GP Essay Conclusions

After discussing the strategies of writing an introduction and a body paragraph, I shall also talk about how to write a conclusion for a GCE-A'Level General Paper essay. Candidates tend to overlook the significance of a conclusion because it is the last paragraph in an essay, and most of them are running out of time.… Continue reading On GP Essay Conclusions

Proof by Contradiction: An Accessible Introduction with Simple Applications

Proof by contradiction is a fundamental proof method in undergraduate Mathematics, and in fact, it may even be relevant for pre-U students. Yet, how to make use of the method has been much overlooked in A'Level H2 Mathematics. Perhaps it is used by some students in certain elite schools or Olympiad programmes, but the method… Continue reading Proof by Contradiction: An Accessible Introduction with Simple Applications

Sensitivity and Deductive Closure

This is the term paper that I wrote for my class PH2243 Epistemology. Only the introduction, the conclusion, and the list of works cited are posted here. If you wish to read the full paper (around 1500 words), please kindly request via email. Criticisms are always welcome. Thank you. Essay Question: Consider any analysis of… Continue reading Sensitivity and Deductive Closure

The Geometrical Meaning of the Tangent of an Eclipse

Original Question: Let $Latex (x_{0},y_{0})$, where $latex y_{0} \neq 0 $, be a point on the ellipse $latex \frac{x^{2}}{a^{2}}+\frac{y^{2}}{b^{2}}=1 $. Show that the tangent line to the ellipse passing through $Latex (x_{0},y_{0})$ is  $Latex \frac{x_{0}x}{a^{2}}+\frac{y_{0}y}{b^2}=1 &s=1$. Suggested Solution: This is not a difficult question to tackle considering the fact that $Latex (x_{0},y_{0})$ is on the… Continue reading The Geometrical Meaning of the Tangent of an Eclipse

GP: Paragraph Development (2)

In this post, I shall discuss some examples regarding paragraph development. Example 1 Additionally, some may challenge the importance of celebrating such hero. They believe that such heroes are formed from mere acts. Given the circumstances, background and a little luck, they feel that anyone could have done the same thing. On many occasions, sceptics… Continue reading GP: Paragraph Development (2)

Plato’s Apology: The Failure of the Socratic Method in Public Discourse

This is the first major paper I submitted in university. It is a rhetorical analysis focusing on Socrates's final trial. I have pasted the introduction and the conclusion here. Many thanks to Dr. Mark Brantner from NUS, USP writing centre assistants, as well as all my friends for their help and encouragement. A complete list… Continue reading Plato’s Apology: The Failure of the Socratic Method in Public Discourse

GP: Paragraph Development (1)

The quality of body paragraphs is essential for a GP essay. How well one can logically construct and develop arguments directly impacts one's content score. In most Junior Colleges of Singapore, students are taught to follow the TEEL structure (Topic Sentence, Elaboration/Explanation, Example, Link). I will follow this basic structure and discuss the expectations as… Continue reading GP: Paragraph Development (1)

Japan in the Atomic Age: History of Radiation Genetics and Protection from 1920s to 1970s

This post contains the selected parts (Abstract, Conclusion and Acknowledgement) of my research report when I participated in Nanyang Research Programme in 2013. The programme overall offered me a rather fulfilling experience and inspired me to pursue my academic interests further with more determination. The complete list of references and research paper may be requested… Continue reading Japan in the Atomic Age: History of Radiation Genetics and Protection from 1920s to 1970s

GP – How to write a good introduction for Paper 1?

Introduction is a crucial component for a GP essay, and many candidates do not know how to write effective introductions or simply write highly mechanical introductions that fail to engage their readers. A good introduction should contain at least three parts. First, an interesting and relevant hook, or starter. Second, an overview of the essay… Continue reading GP – How to write a good introduction for Paper 1?

Some supplement materials for Singapore-GCE A’Level H2 Physics – Part 1: Classical Mechanics

This post will be constantly updated. This post is especially designed for those who are very interested in Physics and not satisfied with their current H2 syllabus designed by Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB). Upon reviewing with the both H2 Physics syllabus and the IB HL syllabus, I have collected the following links as… Continue reading Some supplement materials for Singapore-GCE A’Level H2 Physics – Part 1: Classical Mechanics

An unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates). Do you agree?

This is probably the last essay that I will write before my GP Exam next Monday. I would like to share it not because I believe that it is very well-written (in fact, there may be many mistakes), but because I really like this quote of Socrates, and feel the passion to write my thoughts… Continue reading An unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates). Do you agree?

Consider the view that Mathematics possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.

The following essay is actually my class assignment for GP. It is one of the essays that I am most proud of. Wish myself all the best for the upcoming GP Exam! Note that the question is adopted from Singapore-GCE A'Level 2012 General Paper P1. Consider the view that Mathematics possesses not only truth, but… Continue reading Consider the view that Mathematics possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.