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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Philosophical test

You are an N-A-R: a metaphysical Non-Reductionist, an epistemological Absolutist, and a moral Relativist. If you are simply dying inside to figure out what all this mumbo-jumbo means, then simply continue reading.

Metaphysics: Non-Reductionism (Idealism or Realism) In metaphysics, my test measures your tendency towards Reductionism or Non-Reductionism. As a Non-Reductionist, you recognize that reality is not necessarily simple or unified, and you thus tend to produce a robust ontology instead of carelessly shaving away hypothetical entities that reflect our philosophical experiences. My test recognizes two types of Non-Reductionists: Idealists and Realists.

1. Idealists believe that reality is fundamentally unknowable. All we can ever know is the world of sense experience, thought, and other phenomena which are only distorted reflections of an ultimate (or noumenal) reality. Kant, one of the most significant philosophers in history, theorized that human beings perceive reality in such a way that they impose their own mental frameworks and categories upon reality, fully distorting it. Reality for Kant is unconceptualized and not subject to any of the categories our minds apply to it. Idealists are non-reductionists because they recognize that the distinction between phenomenal reality and ultimate reality cannot be so easily discarded or unified into a single reality. They are separate and distinct, and there is no reason to suppose the one mirrors the other. Major philosophical idealists include Kant and Fichte.

If your views are different from the above, then you may be a Realist. 2. Realists deny the validity of sloppy metaphysical reductions, because they feel that there is no reason to suspect that reality reflects principles of parsimony or simplicity. Realism is the most common-sensical of the metaphysical views. It doesn't see reality as a unity or as reducible to matter or mind, nor does it see reality as divided into a phenomenal world of experience and an unknowable noumenal world of things-in-themselves. Realist metaphysics emphasizes that reality is for the most part composed of the things we observe and think. On the question of the existence of universals, for instance, a realist will assert that while universals do not physically exist, the relations they describe in particulars are as real as the particular things themselves, giving universals a type of reality. Thus, no reduction is made. On the mind-body problem, realists tend to believe that minds and bodies both exist, and the philosophical problems involved in reducing mind to matter or matter to mind are too great to warrant such a reduction. Finally, realists deny that reality is ultimately a Unity or Absolute, though they recognize that reality can be viewed as a Unity when we consider the real relations between the parts as constituting this unity--but it doesn't mean that the world isn't also made up of particular things. Aristotle and Popper are famous realists.


Epistemology: Absolutism (Rationalism or Pragmatism) My test measures one's tendency towards Absolutism or Skepticism in regards to epistemology. As an Absolutist, you believe that objective knowledge is possible given the right approach, and you deny the claims of skeptical philosophers who insist that we can never have knowledge of ultimate reality. The two types of Absolutists recognized by my test are Rationalists and Pragmatists.

1. Rationalists believe that the use of reason ultimately provides the best route to truth. A rationalist usually defines truth as a correspondence between propositions and reality, taking the common-sense route. Also, rationalists tend to believe that knowledge of reality is made possible through certain foundational beliefs. This stance is known as foundationalism. A foundationalist believes that, because we cannot justify the truth of every statement in an infinite regress, we ultimately reach a foundation of knowledge. This foundation is composed of a priori truths, like mathematics and logic, as well as undoubtable truths like one's belief in his or her own existence. The belief that experiences and memories are veridical is also part of the foundation. Thus, for a rationalist knowledge of reality is made possible through our foundational beliefs, which we do not need to justify because we find them to be undoubtable and self-evident. In regards to science, a rationalist will tend to emphasize the foundational assumptions of scientific inquiry as prior to and more important than scientific inquiry itself. If science does lead to truth, it is only because it is based upon the assumption of certain rational principles such as "Every event is caused" and "The future will resemble the past". Philosophy has a wide representation of philosophical rationalists--Descartes, Spinoza, Liebniz, and many others.

If that didn't sound like your own views, then you are most likely the other type of Absolutist: the Pragmatist. Epistemological Pragmatists are fundamentally identified by their definition of truth. Truth is, on this view, merely a measure of a proposition's success in inquiry. This view is a strictly scientific notion of truth. A proposition can be called true if it leads to successful predictions or coheres best with the observed facts about the world. Thus, for the pragmatist, knowledge of reality is possible through scientific reasoning. A pragmatist emphasizes man's fallibility, and hence takes baby-steps towards knowledge through scientific methodology. Any truth claim for a pragmatist is open to revision and subject to change--if empirical observations lead us to call even logical rules into question (like quantum physics has done for the law of the excluded middle), then we can and should abandon even these supposed a priori and "absolutely certain" logical rules if they do not accord with our testing and refuting of our various propositions. As a consequence of this, a pragmatist doesn't feel that scientific knowledge is based upon unfounded assumptions that are taken to be true without any sort of justification--rather, they believe that the successes of scientific inquiry have proved that its assumptions are well-founded. For instance, the assumption of science that the future will be like the past is adequately shown by the amazing success of scientific theories in predicting future events--how else could this be possible unless the assumption were true? Pragmatism borrows elements from realism and yet attempts to account for the critiques made by skeptics and relativists. It is essentially a type of philosophical opportunism--it borrows the best stances from a large number of philosophical systems and attempts to discard the problems of these systems by combining them with others. Famous pragmatists of this type are Peirce and Dewey.


Ethics: Relativism (Subjectivism or Emotivism) My test measures one's tendency towards moral Objectivism or moral Relativism in regards to ethics. As a moral Relativist, you tend to see moral choices as describing a subject's reaction to a moral object or situation, and not as a property of the moral object itself. You may also feel that moral words are meaningless because they do not address any empirical fact about the world. My test recognizes two types of moral relativists--Subjectivists and Emotivists.

1. Subjectivists see individual or collective desires as defining a situation's or object's moral worth. Thus, the subject, not the object itself, determines the value. Subjectivists recognize that social rules, customs, and morality have been wide-ranging and quite varied throughout history among various cultures. As a result, Subjectivism doesn't attempt to issue hard and fast rules for judging the moral worth of things. Instead, it recognizes that what we consider "good" and "right" is not bound by any discernable rule. There is no one trait that makes an act good or right, because so many different kinds of things have been called good and right. In regards to the definition of "good" or "right", a Subjectivist will tend to define it as whatever a particular person or group of people desire. They do not define it merely as "happiness" or "pleasure", for instance, because sometimes we desire to do things that do not produce pleasure, and because we don't consider all pleasurable things good. Furthermore, Subjectivists recognize the validity of consequentialism in that sometimes we refer to consequences as good and bad--but they also recognize that our intentions behind an action, or the means to the end, can also determine an act's moral worth. Again, there is no one rule to determine these things. Hence the relativism of moral Subjectivism. The most well-known of the subjectivists is Nietzsche.

If that didn't sound like your position, then you are probably the other variety of moral Relativist--the Emotivist. Emotivists are moral Relativists only in a very slanted sense, because they actually deny that words about morality have any meaning at all. An Emotivist would probably accept Hume's argument that it is impossible to derive an "ought" from an "is"--no factual state of affairs can logically entail any sort of moral action. Furthermore, a emotivist's emphasis on scientific (and hence empirical) verification and testing quickly leads to the conclusion that concepts such as "good" and "right" don't really describe any real qualities or relations. Science is never concerned with whether a particular state of affairs is moral or right or good--and an emotivist feels much the same way. Morality is thus neither objective or subjective for the emotivist--it is without any meaning at all, a sort of vague ontological fiction that is merely a symbol for our emotional responses to certain events. Famous emotivists include Ayer and other positivists associated with the Vienna Circle.


As you can see, when your philosophical position is narrowed down there are so many potential categories that an OKCupid test cannot account for them all. But, taken as very broad categories or philosophical styles, you are best characterized as an N-A-R. Your exact philosophical opposite would be an R-S-O.

About the Author

Saint_gasoline is a crazed madman who spends all of his time writing OKCupid tests and ranting about philosophy and science. If you are interested in reading more of his insane ramblings, or seeing his deliciously trite webcomic, go to

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 99% on Metaphysics
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You scored higher than 99% on Epistemology
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You scored higher than 99% on Ethics
Link: The Sublime Philosophical Crap Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Posted at 02:39 pm by chara
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

You know you are still the same girl deep down inside, when you still find the greatest comfort in your mother's arms, and tear at the same few scenes when watching Beauty and the Beast.

I love the sense of inner peace I feel after a prolonged period of chanting. You feel a surge of hope and wisdom well forth from within you, and for the time being you really feel indestructible.

Posted at 03:53 pm by chara
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

I have read many blogs that clearly seek to entertain.

This is not that kind of blog. Or at least, this is not that kind of entry. I am writing now because I am down.

Sometimes I think the worst thing about life is its constancy. Of course, your life (... my life) is far from constant.

But life itself is. It goes on. And on. 

In fact, that's what my religion teaches me. Cause and effect, karma, life and death. 

You cry, you fall asleep, but then you wake up. Someone dies (I die?), but life goes on. Your heart breaks, but it doesn't stop beating.

Speaking of heartbreaks, I am convinced that I am utterly incapable of sustaining a relationship.

In fact, that is probably the only thing I am confident about these days. I am so insecure about everything I am almost arrogant.

It's a shame really. I miss the old Char, and she really is gone forever.

Posted at 08:21 pm by chara
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

The eternal search for the perfect work bag continues. So pretty, too ex - that just about sums up the Gucci one I'm eyeing. Nothing else screams out to me at the moment, but I'm keeping an open eye and mind :p

Bought a very stylish windbreaker for ZH from Tommy Hilfiger lately. It was so nice that when I tried it on myself - for estimation of size *cough cough* - I actually looked good in it. I'm beginning to like the brand alot. They have a lot of wearable stuff, but with an added element of style. For eg, spotted this short-sleeved blouse on display, and it had a lowish v-neckline, accompanied with a broad half-collar and ribboned sleeves. It was also a very very unique pink that caught your eye, but not in an alarming way. Purrfect!

I really didn't like the movie In Her Shoes, but I cried buckets anyway. And goodness, have you seen that spoof of Memoirs of a Geisha? It's crazy-funny. Everyone who has seen Geisha should see the spoof, even the director! Hmm... maybe especially the director? Hee.

I'm so into American Idol, that my dad actually went out to buy a new VCR to replace the old dysfunctional one. Just so that he can record the eps for me from now on, if and when I have to stay back late at work on Weds and Thurs's! Really sweet of him.

Posted at 06:08 pm by chara
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006
My Vday Story

I know I have been bragging/ gushing a lot about ZH lately, but this entry is justified. Not that I have to justify each time I'm being a real show-off, but I'll just state my reason anyway. I have never had a proper Vday celebration before.


This year, I thought that ZH's booking of a chalet and preparing the bbq - from the grocery-shopping, the setting up of the fire, right down to the cooking itself - over the weekend was to be my Vday present. Tonight was just supposed to be his accompanying a demanding gf to watch Fearless and satisfying her craving for/ intention to get him to try Pepper Lunch. 


So we sat ourselves down to dinner. Somewhere in between my vague attempt at "cooking" for him, he suddenly remarked that he thought I looked very pretty in my little black dress, but it was lacking something, somehow… he couldn't quite put a finger on it… which would make me look perfect. I raised an eyebrow – I always do – and wondered why he had made such a comment which made me want to laugh and cry at the same time! Decided to let the matter rest for a while.


Naturally, my curiosity picked up soon afterwards, and I pursued my line of firing, but to no avail. It was only when we had found our seats in the cinema that he let out, "Ok, I have to give this to you now. Otherwise very uncomfortable." He fished out a sizeable bag from his backpocket, which he had stuffed inside - no wonder it was uncomfortable, poor fellow- retrieved a light blue box from it, and handed it to me. In the half-darkness, I read the attached card (though barely), unknotted the ribbon, opened the lid of the box and voila – sitting inside was a lovely necklace. Look, see for yourself! Right column, middle one: Pretty, no?? And I got him 2 bags of sour plum (suan mei)... 


Posted at 07:27 am by chara
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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
It's only words

I just feel so grateful and loved right now. Experienced many highs and lows today, but nothing compares to this feeling. Not the fantastic birthday dinner my dad threw at Hua Ting, the many episodes of Journey to the West I watched in the afternoon, the yummy ice cream cake we shared, the liberating jog I had in the park at sunset, or even buying a new maroonish dress for tonight's dinner.

Thanks dar, for always being so reasonable, so forgiving, and so very sweet. It's just beyond words.

Posted at 11:46 pm by chara
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Saturday, January 28, 2006
It's weird

I didn't enjoy MoS tonight. Decided to check it out with a couple of gal frens but I quickly realised that I missed ZH way too much to (properly) enjoy the evening. The music was simply unbearable; the drinks not particularly impressive, and I felt no incentive whatsoever to talk to anyone apart from my original company. Doesn't matter if they look good in a shirt, offer to buy us drinks... Just wasn't in the mood. I missed ZH too much, and that was that.

I left the gals early. They understood :)

Haru was good stuff. Apart from the disappointing yellow tail sashimi and lack of appealing desserts, everything from their standard of service and deco to their food presentation and range of cocktails impressed me. The sushi we had was on the saltish side, but I've always liked my salties (too much for my own good, I'm sure), so that didn't quite put me off the dish.

I'd better stick to my NY resolution to lose weight. Pineapple tarts have not been helping!!

Posted at 01:04 am by chara
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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Went to Wild Wild Wet today (alliteration!). It was tons of unadulterated fun - I felt like a 10 year old kid on the slides and kicking up a fuss when ambushed with the water guns. The place was less packed than I'd expected - it being a Saturday and all, although when we were about to leave, swarms starting pouring in. After getting slightly roasted on the cheeks (which gives me a nice glow for a couple of days until my skin starts peeling - I really hope that won't happen this time), ZH drove to Geylang for a delicious dim sum lunch. It was already close to 3pm, and we were practically famished. We ate so much! My favourite dish is still the fried prawn-paste chicken wings. They even add ginger to the marinade, and I still like it, which only goes to show how good it is. The chee cheong fun with mushrooms comes a close second. And their barley water is the best I've had anywhere in Singapore :)

Speaking of good food, I loveeee the smoked salmon sandwiches from Soup Central. It's currently on my list of comfort food, along with my mom's home-cooked dishes after a hard day at work. I'm also a fan of my self-made feta cheese and olives salad - kinda like a Greek salad, only with a larger variety of veggies thrown in (you know me heh).

After lunch today we took a walk in Chinatown, but I was pretty dazed by then - the sun really zaps your energy, and I was running, jumping, climbing ALOT at WWW. ZH bought these these humongous $1-for-1 oranges for me (mom's currently peeling them up - or slicing probably, since the oranges are HUGEE). Said they're really sweet, but I think he's still sweeter hahaha.

I came home, plomped myself onto my bed and slept like a log until it was time for a nice Ramen dinner, topped off with a banana split :)

Happy and satisfied am I :)

Posted at 08:19 pm by chara
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Mid week

Me (yesterday, on my walk home):

Thinks to oneself: "Bro walking a distance away ahead of me. Shall I risk embarassing both himself and me by calling out his name? Or just ignore him?"

Walks a bit more.

Decides to call out.

"(insert bro's name)!"

No response.

I try again.

"(insert bro's name)!"

A brief glance, but I doubt he saw me.

"(insert bro's name)! (insert bro's name)!!" (louder)

Still no response! ("Why do guys always get so embarassed of their family members in public?")

I decide to quicken my pace, as the gap between us was widening (blame female office footwear)...

"(insert bro's name)!" I yell again.

Shortly after, another glance.

Suddenly, he scurries up an unfamiliar slope to our left. 

Finally, I realise, he was not my brother.

* * *

Poor soul, as if his NS life weren't hard enough - he now has a creepy stalker.

* * *


1. Carl's Jr's mushroom burger

2. Gong Li in Memoirs of a Geisha

3. SDU's programmes booklet which makes for the funniest reading material ever - "Dating in the dark"??

Posted at 06:09 pm by chara
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Monday, January 02, 2006

I AM alive!! Sorry for not updating in ages, the handful of you who still take the trouble to pop by...

Blogdrive hasn't always been cooperative, but the fault's mainly mine. Haven't been in the bloggish mood recently. (Been having too much of a life, perhaps? Finally?? :p)

I've really been having a nice time at work (yes, nice and busy, not oxymoronic) - everyone's simply great (esp my PM, who gave me a box of Sins chocs for NY's, not that there is any correlation :p) - which makes me feel like staying in this department, but think I owe it to myself to try my hand at other work.

I've also been to the spendid Crazy Horse Paris, which everyone should go see. Unless you are under 18. It's sad to read that the response has been poor so far, but seeing it for myself was just tragic. No doubt we watched the Sunday 10pm performance (ok, who would go at that time), but at least those who had turned up could have applauded?! You'd see this gorgeous set, a gorgeous string of women doing kicks in perfect synchronisation, gorgeous lighting, music... and when the climax was over, you'd hear a couple of pathetic claps. Think EW should sponsor the Great Famous Bloggers of Singapore to watch and then they'd do their reviews, and in typical Singaporean fashion, there'd be queues for the shows. I wouldn't mind watching it myself a second time (I'm sure ZH would oblige me :p), but I think I've busted my spending limit for erm... the first month of 2006 :(

Went to Batam with ZH and friends, which was really enjoyable. The gang of them really know how to organise a blast of a trip. THANK YOU!! Looking forward to Wild Wild Wet and goodness knows what else they have in store :):)

And I just got back yesterday from Bintan. Yup, got to spend NY's with ZH on a romantic island. Missed family though, so had to phone home, but the best thing was that we missed the rains. I also got to play lots of ping pong aka table tennis (which sounds a lot more pro)! And debut my penguin-swimming/ walking :p

On the movies-front, I've seen Narnia, and Pride & Prejudice (which I didn't really like), and King Kong and Goblet of Fire (which I did).

Here's wishing everyone - yes, everyone - a Happy New Year in 2006.

Posted at 03:18 pm by chara
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