FASS Staff Profile




Brief Introduction

I did my BA and MA in Philosophy at NUS, and PhD in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Since coming back to Singapore in 1994, I have worked at NUS.

Teaching Areas

History of Philosophy (Founders of Modern Philosophy; Hume and Kant; Skepticism in 17th-18th Century; Aristotle's and Descartes' Psychology); Environmental Ethics; Comparative Environmental Ethics; Topics in Environmental Philosophy; Graduate Research Seminar; Introduction to Philosophy (for Special Term); tutorials for 1st year modules

Current Research

Descartes on Self-Motion, Life and the Passions; The Liberal Arts and Montaigne on Education; The Cartesian Mind, co-ed. with Jorge Secada (under contract with Routledge UK); Mencius and Feminism (for Dao Companion to Mencius)

Research Interests

Descartes; Montaigne; Classical Confucianism; Environmental Ethics



  • 1. Material Falsity and Error in Descartes's Meditations (London and New York: Routledge, 2006; pbk. 2010)



    1.     "Filial Special Obligations: A Comparative Study", Dao (2014)


    2.   "Descartes' Ontological Proof of God's Existence", British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20:1 (2012)


    3.  “Montaigne on Reason, Morality and Faith", History of Philosophy Quarterly 28:3 (2011)


    4.      Xin, Trust and the Confucian Ethic”, Philosophy East and West 61:3 (2011) 


    5.      “Mencius and the Natural Environment”, Environmental Ethics 31:4 (2009)


    6.      “Descartes’ Dualism and Contemporary Dualism” (with M Pelczar), Southern Journal of Philosophy, 46:1 (2008)


    7.      “Hsun Tzu on Family and Familial Relations”, Asian Philosophy, 17:2 (2007)


    8.      “Descartes and Leibniz on Human Free Will and the Ability to Do Otherwise”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 36:3 (2006): 387-414


    9.      “Animal Sentience and Descartes’s Dualism: Exploring the Implications of Baker and Morris’s Views”, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 13:4 (2005): 611-626


    10.      “Descartes’s Infallibility Thesis”, Philosophical Inquiry 25:1-2 (2003): 59-70


    11.      “Mencius, the Feminine Perspective and Impartiality”, Asian Philosophy 13:1 (2003): 3-13


    12.  “Descartes’s Two Proofs of the External World”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80:4 (2002), 487-501


    13.  “Self, Other and Community in Cartesian Ethics”, History of Philosophy Quarterly 19:3 (2002), 255-273


    14.  “Has Aristotle’s Mind Been Changed?”, Archiv für Geschicte der Philosophie 84:2 (2002), 212-222


    15.  “Descartes and Mencius on Self and Community”, Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29:2 (2002), 191-203


    16.  “Cartesian Environmental Ethics”, Environmental Ethics 23:3 (2001), 275-286


    17.  “Newman on the Proof of the External World in Descartes’s Meditations”, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 9:1 (2001), 123-130


    18.  “Montaigne and the Debate on Rational Suicide”, Res Publica (CAPPE) 8:2 (1999), 18-22



  • 1. 'Alhazen and the Experimental Method' in The Bright Dark Ages: Comparative and Connective Perspectives, ed. Arun Bala and Prasenjit Duara, Brill, 2016 (invited)


    2. 'Descartes on Active Perception' in Active Perception in the History of Philosophy, ed. Jose Filipe Silva and Mikko Yrjonsuuri, Springer (2014) (invited)

    3.'The Fourth Meditation and Libertarian Freedom', in The Cambridge Companion to Descartes' Meditations, ed. David Cunning, Cambridge University Press (2014) (invited)

    4. 'Confucianism and Killing and Letting Die' in Global Ethics and Human Rights: Contemporary Issues, ed., Wanda Teays, John-Stewart Gordon and Alison Renteln, Rowman and Littlefield (2014) (invited)

    5. 'Aquinas and Locke on Empiricism and Education', in Aquinas on Education and the East, ed. Brian Mooney and Mark Nowacki, Springer(2013) (invited)

    6. 'Land and Soil Pollution', in Global Reference on the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (GREENR) (Subscription-based e-resource by Cengage) (invited)

    7.'Descartes, Dewey and Democracy', in Democracy as Culture: Deweyan Pragmatism in a Globalizing World, eds., Sor-hoon Tan and John Whalen Bridge (Albany: SUNY 2008)

    8. 'Rene Descartes', in Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, eds., J Baird Callicott and Robert Frodeman (Macmillan Reference, 2008) (invited)

    9. 'Confucius on Li and Montaigne on Coustume: A Reflection on Customary Practices and Personal Autonomy', in eds. Vincent Shen and Kwong Loi Shun, Confucianism in Retrospect and Prospect (Council for Reseach in Values and Philosophy 2008)

    10..‘Material Falsity and the Arguments for God’s Existence in Descartes’s Meditations’, in J. Jenkins, J. Whiting and C. Williams, eds., Persons and Practices: Essays in Honor of Annette Baier (University of Notre Dame Press 2005) (invited)

    11. ‘Montaigne’s Cannibals and Multiculturalism’ in Sor-hoon Tan, ed., Challenging Citizenship: Group Membership and Cultural Identity in a Global Age (Aldershot: Ashgate 2005)

    12. ‘Intrinsic Values in Nature and Paradigm Shifts’ in Yuanzheng Pang, ed., Environment and Development against the Background of Globalization (Beijing: World Knowledge Press 2005) (invited, published in Mandarin)

    13. ‘Descartes and Mencius on Self and Community’, in Kim-chong Chong, C L Ten and Sor-hoon Tan, eds., The Moral Circle and the Self: Chinese and Western Approaches (La Salle: Open Court 2002) (reprint)

    14.'Asian Traditions of Thought and Environmental Ethics in an Age of Globalization' in Khairulmani Osman and Lily Kong, eds., Malaysia, Singapore and ASEAN in an Age of Globalization (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya 2002)


  • 1. Review of Marc Hight, Idea and Ontology: An Essay in Early Modern Metaphysics of Ideas, Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2012) (invited)

    2.Review of  Joanne D. Birdwhistell, Mencius and Masculinities: Dynamics of Power, Morality and Maternal Thinking, Dao, 8 (2009) (invited)

    3.Review of Anne Ashley Davenport, Descartes's Theory of Action (Brill: Leiden 2006), British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 15 (2007) (invited)

    4. Review of Janet Broughton, Descartesís Method of Doubt (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2002), British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 14 (2006) (invited)

    5. Review of Jorge Secada, Cartesian Metaphysics: The Scholastic Origins of Modern Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2000), British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12:1 (2004) (invited) 

    6. Review of Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Elaborations on Emptiness: Uses of the Heart Sutra (Princeton: Princeton University Press 1996), Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28:3 (2001)


    Note: all publications are under my maiden name of 'Cecilia Wee'

Awards,Scholarships etc.


Member, International Advisory Board, British Journal for the History of Philosophy (w.e.f. Jan 2017)

Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Environmental Ethics (2015-2025)

Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Studies, FASS (2012 - 13)

Fellow, NUS Teaching Academy (2010-14)

Member, Editorial Board, Journal of the NUS Teaching Academy

Member, Steering Committee, Asia-Pacific STS Network (2010-12)

NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award Honour Roll (2006-7)

NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2003/4, 2004/5, 2005/6)

FASS Faculty Excellent Teacher Award (2003/4, 2004/5. 2005/6)

NUS Overseas Graduate Scholarship (1990-94)

Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship (University of Pittsburgh) (1989-90)
Referee work for Oxford University Press (twice),Mind, Archiv fur Geschicte der Philosophie, SyntheseBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Dao, Sophia, Religious Studies, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Res Philosophica, Bloomsbury (Continuum), Dao, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Springer, Parrheia, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Southern Journal of Philosophy

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