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Hume’s Is–Ought Gap and Ought-Implies-Can

David Hume is credited with formulating the is–ought gap (also known as Hume’s Law) in  Treatise : I cannot forbear adding to these reasonings an observation, which may, perhaps, be found of some importance. In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark'd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is , and is not , I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought , or an ought not . This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought , or ought not , expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relat
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As Year 1 Semester 2 Ends

It’s 9 pm. Earlier this evening, I tapau-ed a macchiato in my trusty SPF hot water flask (it was an ORD gift!) from Pret St Martin’s Lane — my favourite late-night (i.e., open till 11 pm every day) Pret in London. I’ve now settled into a cosy chair in the Round Reading Room of the Maughan Library. Love the wooden tables here; compared to the plastic and metal ones elsewhere in the library, they feel storied and amiable. What a Sunday on which to write this short piece! I just submitted my 4SSPP103 Comparing Political Systems essay (40% of overall grade) on Thursday afternoon. The essay question was on the relationship between globalisation and voting behaviour. After analysing longitudinal data from 18 Asia-Pacific countries, I concluded that globalisation causes voters to swing rightwards because vulnerability is the flip side of connectivity. I spent Friday and Saturday tying up as many stressful loose ends (STRAND magazine and Photovoice SG) as I could. 😩 Thankfully, today has been

As Year 1 Semester 1 Ends

Tomorrow’s my Comparative Political Systems (CPS) exam. Well, it’s technically today since it’s 2:30 am now. It’s a 24-hour take-home exam, so I am not particularly worried about it. I don’t regularly maintain this blog; I write whenever I get into a literary mood, and that happens to be now. It’s a season of change: the start of 2022, a new semester, the four-month-old Londoner that I am realising that almost half the academic year is gone. Semester 1 flew by with moderate success, although I haven’t definitively wrapped it up yet (looking at you, exams). Using just my KI knowledge, extra reading during NS and six years’ worth of research skills I picked up in Hwa Chong, I clinched an 80/100 for my Political and Economic Philosophy (PEP) summative essay on Isaiah Berlin: Instructor’s Feedback:  The author has produced an outstanding piece of work. It is philosophically rigorous, well-argued, and innovative. It reaches well beyond the set texts into the academic debate, and buttresses

Thoughts, November/December 2021

I kinda figured it out. Maybe. Maybe not. But probably. I will not specialise in Economics. This term, Year 1 Semester 1, I am taking four modules: 4AANA102 Introduction to Philosophy I: Logic, Ethics (Julien Dutant, Winnie Ma) 4SSPP110 Political and Economic Philosophy (Federica Carugati, Thomas Rowe) 4SSPP103 Comparing Political Systems (Damien Bol, Fredrick Ajwang) 4SSPP105 Principles of Economics (Maia King, Marco Giani) I remember catching up with Ms Phay at a Sixth Avenue sandwich café early this year, and I told her my plans and why I chose to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In High School, my favourite subjects were literature and mathematics and my most abhorred ones were chemistry and history, defying the standard art–science dichotomy. At the end of Secondary 2 when I refused to join HCI’s Humanities Programme or Science & Math Talent Programme, I was asked: Why? Which side was I on? I answered that I loved to dabble in both. Fast forward two years: when it was

Vignette No. 2 / London

It’s 7:45 pm on the 7 th of November. Autumn is noticeably giving way to winter, with the sun setting at half past four and temperatures hovering around 10°C. I am sitting at Table 53 at the Goodman’s Field Wetherspoons after having a grilled chicken burger for dinner. Since I moved to London a month and a half ago, I never felt the serendipity and inspiration to write. But as I sip at my pint, the vibes are pushing me in the right direction. Earlier today, I booked my Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flight to Singapore for the December break. The cheapest option for my travel dates was on Air France via Paris. Not bad, I thought; a croissant and coffee within the Charles de Gaulle transit area would be nice. So, I booked it and set myself up for two and a half weeks back on my tropical island catching up with friends and family; maybe studying at the National Library in preparation for the January exams. This past week was Reading Week, which I spent on a trip to Málaga, Spain, with som

A New Identity

Identities, even in the form of an email address, assure me of my place in the world and motivate me. It is an inspiring privilege to wear the weight of an institution like an Athenian himation. Do not underestimate the power exuded by meagre glyphs in the address bar; it invites others to pause and pay attention. I was formerly and . Since Tuesday, 17 August 2021, I took on a new identity. Neither the anonymous nor the look-at-my-matriculation-year  — phantoms of what could have been. But the legitimate, professional, proper . One cannot distinguish between student and staff as the email address nomenclature is the same. This is immensely invigorating. Every time I open Outlook, I am reminded that the professors and I are the same in style, if not substance. I can achieve whatever they have achieved. I’ve got one foot in the door, and that fact is stamped on every

Recreational Mathematics, 16 June 2021

On 16 June 2021, I did some mathematics for fun and obtained this result. I explained the proof to my viewers on Instagram Stories that same day, but I only decided to publish it here on my blog today. MathJax works wonders! Consider \(a,b,k \in \mathbb{Z}^{+}\) with \(a < b \). We observe that: \begin{equation*} \begin{split} \sum_{k=a}^{b-1} \sqrt{\frac{1}{k}} - \sum_{k=a+1}^{b} \sqrt{\frac{1}{k}} = \sqrt{\frac{1}{a}} - \sqrt{\frac{1}{b}} \end{split} \end{equation*} By trapezoidal approximation and the convexity of \(\sqrt{\frac{1}{x}}\), \(\forall x \in \mathbb{R}\) and \(\forall n \in \mathbb{Z}^{+}\), \begin{equation*} \begin{split} \int_{n}^{n+1}\sqrt{\frac{1}{x}} \; \mathrm{d}x < \frac{1}{2} \Bigg ( \sqrt{\frac{1}{n}} + \sqrt{\frac{1}{n+1}} \Bigg ) \end{split} \end{equation*} Therefore, \begin{equation*} \begin{split} \int_{a}^{b}\sqrt{\frac{1}{x}} \; \mathrm{d}x < \frac{1}{2} \Bigg ( \sum_{k=a}^{b-1} \sqrt{\frac{1}{k}} + \sum_{k=a+1}^{b} \sqrt{\frac{1}{k}} \Big