Life, the Universe, and Everything

A Course Blog for GET1029/GEK1067

Category: Others

Study based on GET1029 data published

It’s out! Some of you ex-students from GET1029 will recognize where the data came from–big thank you to everyone who contributed to the various surveys. It’s really cool when you can play with several years’ worth of data with thousands of points. And not least my collaborators Kiru and Zi Hui–couldn’t have done this without you!

Podcast Episode #08 Closing Thoughts

Recommendations for readings, movies, etc., your instructor’s sharing about best/worst moments, advice for aspiring philosophy majors, parting words from your instructors, and some more…

FASS Cares

Helping my deanery team advertise this:

COVID-19 has indeed created many new norms and taken its toll on many of us, but more heavily on some, especially those from the more vulnerable group.

COVID-19 has indeed taken its toll on many of us, but more heavily on some – especially those from more vulnerable groups than others.

During these trying times, we hope to extend some support to our lower-income front-liners at FASS. They are our cleaners, guards and gardeners, who put themselves out there and toil tirelessly to keep our environment safe and clean. The External Relations & Student Life (ERSL) Team has embarked on this project to gather the faculty’s help to alleviate some of their daily meal expenses and spread some cheer.

We hope to raise at least $2,000 (per our application to Temasek Trust) to qualify for their additional funding under the oscar@sg fund. We thereby sincerely appeal to you for your generous donation, as well as to show your appreciation for the front-liners’ hard work.

Your donation will:

  • Provide them with hot meals at FASS The Deck (it will support the stalls as well, as their incomes have been affected by COVID-19)
  • Support a Care Pack
  • Support future projects if funds allow

Your donation, no matter how big or small, will go a long way in showing that FASS cares.

Spread a little cheer and support – make your donation NOW (latest 20 Dec 2020).

Vaguely related to the Simulation Argument topic

From the wikipedia article:

In the open world video game Free City, Guy (Reynolds) is a non-player character (NPC) working as a bank teller. Thanks to a program developed by programmers Milly (Comer) and Keys (Keery) inserted into Free City by the publisher Antoine (Waititi), Guy becomes aware of his world being a video game, and takes steps to make himself the hero, creating a race against time to save the game before the developers can shut it down.

Article: The intelligent monster that you should let eat you

Hat tip to a student of mine who sent me this:

Imagine a monster with a set of words so powerful you have to let it eat you. It might sound fanciful, but we could be on a trajectory to inventing one right now, writes Richard Fisher.

Stephen Colbert on his Philosophy Exam

…and a lot more, including life, the universe, and everything.

LogiProof: Software for Logic Assessment (a guest post by Dr Lee Wang Yen)

(Note from the blog owner: The following is the account by Dr. Lee Wang Yen, a colleague from the Philosophy Department, concerning how he created a computer programme for assessing logic. Since 2016, Dr. Lee has been teaching GET1028 Logic and GET1026 Effective Reasoning for the Department of Philosophy. As both modules are relatively large (200-300 students each semester), we are always looking for ways to streamline or automate processes. This is not just about saving human work; more importantly, it is also about cutting down on human errors and ensuring that our teaching is scalable across larger groups of students without compromising on quality. Knowing a little about what he went through to make his logic assessment program happen, I encouraged him to do a write up for sharing and offered him a platform for hosting it. You can find out more about Dr Lee’s research at and contact him at

* * * * *

1. Problem

When I first taught GET1028 Logic at NUS, I set a mixture of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and short-answer questions (SAQs). My detailed marking method (deducting 0.1, 0.2, 0.25, etc. marks depending on the seriousness of the mistakes) entailed a huge workload not only for myself, but also for the admin staff in my department, who had to help check the marks calculation. Given the size of my class and the small admin team in my department, everyone was under huge pressure to meet the deadline without compromising on accuracy. I had to work 10-11 hours a day for more than a week. The admin staff had to work over weekends. It occurred to me, given the prompting of the admin staff and department leadership, that I had to change my assessment method.

One option would be to set only MCQs. However, after many long and detailed discussions with Prof. Loy, my deputy head of department (a keen user of MCQs in the large exposure module) in 2017, we came to the conclusion that not all logic skills could be tested by MCQs. While MCQs can test a student’s ability to evaluate a proof, it cannot test a student’s ability to conduct the proof from beginning to the end. As a result, I took up my then teaching assistant’s suggestion and began to write a computer programme that eventually evolved into LogiProof. Continue reading

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