February 21st, 2017

kiri win

The Foundation of Now

I am reading my old entries while having lunch because I am self-absorbed like that, and I came across an entry that I wrote in January 2013 that pretty much formed the basis of my PhD: The challenge of proper reasoning.

This is the whole problem that I am addressing in my PhD:

What's the alternative [theory of rights] that we've been offered by the courts? Community > individual; individual loses. Too bad.

I think it is safe to say that going to the LSE was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life. In that regard, Cambridge's decision to reject me for the LLM was one of the best instances of failure that I have ever experienced in my life. If I had been accepted at Cambridge, I probably would have chosen to come here, which means I would have missed out on Dr K's stimulating classes which provoked me into thinking about rights in Singapore and taught me about how to reason properly and clearly. Of course, it is entirely plausible that I would have been exposed to a similar level of stimulation at Cambridge; after all, it is Cambridge. But it is equally true that the LLM syllabus here is more traditional and less experimental than the one at the LSE, and so so I might have found it less stimulating, less provocative, less inspiring. Accordingly, I might not have got a first if I had done my LLM here; and without a first, I would not have been admitted to the PhD programme.

In short, the LSE saved my life.


Is it not true that most, if not all, of our philosophical positions are formed and shaped and constituted by our personal experiences? Life is a philosophical question; and thus, so is the issue of having children. Is life intrinsically valuable, or is it valuable only if it can be lived well, according to the individual's conception of a worthy life? Does it change the story if I concede that most of us don't think of ourselves as agents in this sense, mapping out a particular conception of the good life and spending our lives following through on it? What happens when there is an novus actus interveniens that fundamentally disrupts the agent's capacity for autonomy?

Is life intrinsically valuable? Is it valuable only if I can live it well? Is it valueless if I can no longer live it well?

Four years ago, I didn't think that life was intrinsically valuable, and so I questioned the assumption that life is a gift. Is it really? Camus says that suicide is only true philosophical question. What do you do when you are alive to the absurd - that is, the knowledge of the futility of our efforts at finding meaning in life, of being trapped in a mindless routine of the same thing every day, of Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain, just to watch it roll back down, and repeating the same action for eternity?

I'm not sure what I make of the fact that, four years later, my position on these questions remains the same. If the issue of having children is a philosophical question - and I think that it is - then I have answered it in the negative four years ago.

Religion, then, makes perfect sense. We stipulate the existence of a higher being, an all-seeing, all-knowing God, to solve the existentialist question. But it is because its function is so rationally obvious that I do not believe in its truth.


This is disjointed, incoherent, and does no justice whatsoever to the reasoning skills that I picked up at the LSE. I know there are gaps in what I am writing. But I literally don't have time to develop it further now, as I have to get to the library and finish my paper. Hopefully, the paper contains better argumentation than this entry, yeah?