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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Philosophy, Law & Medicine

"In the eve of his medical exams, my son didn't sleep and carried on preparing, and only slept a lot afterwards." I updated my family doctor about my other concerns."Oh dear! It's only his first year; he has to learn the relationships among different subjects in later years." His remarks made me worried. "He'll find his way to resolve the challenge in due course." I got my doctor's dose of plecebo medicine.

When I was admitted to read philosophy as an external student of London University in 1976, I was surprised that I only needed to sit the degree exams five years later. Having selected five optional papers, I began to investigate the compulsory ones ie Logic & Methodology, Epistemology and Ethics. I learned about how to reason, how to advance knowledge, and how to judge right from wrong.

Gradually, I found that specific pursuits in philosophical subjects like Politics or Religion were based or derived from the core themes. In learning the law later, I realized that all human and institutional relationships were regulated as rights and obligations in civil, political, economic, social and cultural contexts. Getting the concept and structure of knowledge systems right helps a lot in discerning their particulars.

"Yes, no one taught me how to study philosophy and I got my honours degree." I recalled. "In law schools, professors and lecturers focused on principles, rules and exceptions, and my original theses on philosophy of law were not appreciated in the exams." I reflected. "Anyhow, through intuitive learning on learning, my son should be able to resolve his challenge in due course." But I had better check the efficacy!

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