Jonathan Y. H. Sim

Department of Philosophy
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore


Brief Introduction

Jonathan Sim is an Instructor with the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He teaches a course to 800 undergraduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on how to employ computational methods and algorithms to solve problems, and the social, political, and ethical effects of algorithms on people and society.

He is passionate about teaching and he enjoys sharing his love for philosophy. He has been teaching general education modules to a diverse range of undergraduate students and adult learners at the university. In his previous department (Office of the Provost and Senior Deputy President, 2016-2019), Jonathan has been consistently rated as one of the top three educators in the department.


Teaching Areas

Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, Metacognition, Ethics, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophy of Algorithms, C/C++ and VBA Programming.


Currently Teaching

GET1050 Computational Reasoning. A new and exciting module that teaches undergraduate students (from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) how to employ computational methods to solve problems, and philosophically reflect on the social and ethical issues that arise in the creation of models and implementation of algorithms.


Courses Taught

GEQ1000 Asking Questions. A compulsory module dedicated to raising the metacognitive abilities of all undergraduate students regardless of their major.

GET1031A Computational Thinking. A compulsory module for all students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, focused on imparting them the skills and methods for solving complex problems.


Online Education

Explorations in Confucian Philosophy (2018). Jointly developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on Coursera with Prof. Alan K. L. Chan, Vice-President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. [View Online Course]


Past Teaching Experiences

“How to Spot and Avoid Errors in Reasoning” (2017) to Secondary 1 students at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore.

“Philosophy in the Real World” (2016) to Secondary 4 students at Raffles Institution, Singapore.

“Introduction to Logic” (2016) to Secondary 2 and 3 students at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore.

“Introduction to Philosophy” (2015) to Secondary 1 students at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School.

“Philosophy of Technology” (2015) to Secondary 2 and 3 students at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore.

Humanities and Social Sciences Library 3-Day Workshop on Critical Thinking (2014) to Undergraduate Students at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

GCE ‘A’ Level Computing and C++ Programming (2009) to JC2 students at Catholic Junior College, Singapore.

Testimonials on Teaching

Your 101% efforts, right down to the details don’t go unnoticed by me. What I appreciated most from your class was that you made it a point to make things relevant to us. I’m glad I took this module and I’m even more grateful that it was taught by you. I think the teachers we meet in our lives really do make a great impact on the learning outcomes and the subject matter at hand. Content might be king but engagement is truly queen. I’m glad that I had the chance to dip my toes into five other disciplines that I know close to nothing about. It was very eye-opening class..

– Claire McColl


Genuinely wants to help his students learn something from the module, and makes the effort to tweak his tutorials to make learning more effective.

– Anonymous Student Feedback


Thank you Jonathan! I thoroughly enjoyed GEQ1000 under your guidance and this module has been the complete opposite of the horror stories I’ve heard from my friends. They would tell me the module is bad but not explain why, so this makes me think they just can’t appreciate thinking! But you have truly helped us students hone our thinking skills, through the different schools of thinking.

I think the most enjoyable part of lessons is the very relevant and quirky examples raised in class, that not only helps to engage us students, but also keeps us on our toes because the examples like dating also is something we would like to find out more, on a personal basis.

Thank you for also always laughing with us and yourself, it really makes us at ease with how lighthearted classes can be, whilst still being so entirely enriching! This will be one of my most favourite modules throughout university!! :)

– Anonymous Student Feedback

Very energetic and very engaging. His class is so lively and fun! I look forward to attending his class all the way in University Town even after a long day’s work! Very sincere and real. His sharing in class is very beneficial to all students. Jonathan also shares openly about his thoughts and experiences, and he bring out greater sharings from the class. Extremely dedicated person.

Jonathan is very well prepared for his class. He summarizes all the notes from the videos, teaches from his powerpoint slides and prepare tutorials and goes thru with the class very systematically. He also encourages participation in class in a fun way by randomly assignment ‘fun’ roles to students of each

– Virginia Shaw


Jonathan’s lessons are very interesting compared to the lecture videos. It strays away from the usual ‘textbook learning’ and focuses more on letting us learn by playing games or engaging in activities that he has planned. Furthermore, his feedbacks are very to the point and easy to understand, upon which we could improve on. His passion for this subject surpasses any TAs throughout my entire university life thus far. His lessons are also very catered to FASS students and through his games, we could see the hard work that he has placed in for this module. He is truly someone who can teach.

– Anonymous Student Feedback


He is a dedicated teacher whose passion is evident in the attention and care he shows his students. Furthermore, he goes above and beyond in ensuring that students know he is always there for them, be it for consultations or otherwise. His willingness to open up to students always brings back the human aspect of teaching – he shares about his personal life and experiences so we will feel more connected with him. Conversations are always two–way, and he doesn’t make students feel like he is merely a superior, but rather more like our equal who understands our struggles and who is willing to help.

– Anonymous Student Feedback

He facilitates classroom interactions and asks thought provoking questions. He creates new and interesting activities for our tutorial class which involves everyone. He expresses genuine care and concern for us and goes beyond to connect with us on a personal level. He makes an effort to get to know each of us. Through his teaching, I have learnt life-long skills and this module has refined and left a strong impact on my thought processes.

– Anonymous Student Feedback


He is a good tutor who knows how to engage his students. His strength lies in his ability to break the module up into smaller parts for us to understand better

– Anonymous Student Feedback


He puts in significant effort in the preparation of his tutorials such as creating his own in-class activities and the role card method of getting his students more engaged in the discussion. He also makes his own slides which made complex concepts much easier to understand for me. Jonathan is also very enthusiastic and engaging in his teaching despite having to take a class that ends at 9pm.

– Anonymous Student Feedback


Jonathan always goes to the extra mile in order to ensure students are keeping up with the learning pace despite having a lot of commitments. Also, he’s a warm–hearted teacher who strives to take learning out of the classrooms by teaching us how theories can be applied to our reality. He’s always going the extra mile for students such as coming up with consultation slots for group, even answering questions in the middle of the night and being responsible by informing us if he cannot adhere to certain deadlines but still gives a reasonable deadline to feedback to his students.

– Anonymous Student Feedback

Public Speaking

2016: “Insights on the Dynamic Digital Revolution” at the Asia Business Summit, jointly organised by the Institute of Asian Consumer Insight and Channel News Asia.

2016-10-30 09.14.25


2015: “The Ethical and Societal Implications of Hi-Tech Development” at the Smarter World Summit, jointly organised by the Financial Times and the Institute of Asian Consumer Insight.




Research, Talks, & Publications


2018. “Harmonising Fractured Communities: A Confucian Approach to the Problems of Distribution.” Masters Dissertation. National University of Singapore. tinypdf

2013. “Notions of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought.” Honours Dissertation. National University of Singapore. tinypdf



Ho Weng Toh & Jonathan Y. H. Sim. 2019. Memoirs of a Flying Tiger: The Story of a WWII Veteran and SIA Pioneer Pilot. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company.

Co-authored the book with Captain Ho Weng Toh, a 99 year old World War 2 veteran and pioneer pilot of Singapore Airlines who trained the first 300 pilots for SIA.
Co-authored the book with Captain Ho Weng Toh, a 99 year old World War 2 veteran and pioneer pilot of Singapore Airlines who trained the first 300 pilots for SIA.
Launching the book together with Captain Ho Weng Toh; Guest-of-Honour Ambassador-at-Large Prof. Tommy Koh; and Director of the National Archives of Singapore, Ms. Wendy Ang.
Launching the book together with Captain Ho Weng Toh; Guest-of-Honour Ambassador-at-Large Prof. Tommy Koh; and Director of the National Archives of Singapore, Ms. Wendy Ang.


Edited Volumes

Jan W. Vasbinder, Balázs Gulyás, & Jonathan Y. H. Sim (Eds.). 2018. Grand Challenges for Science in the 21st Century. New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing Company.


Journal Papers

2019. “The ‘Face’ Barriers to Partnership.” Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education. 1 (27).


Book Reviews

2016. “The Audacity to Reform: The Impact of Clark Kerr’s Vision in History and What We Can Learn in Dealing with the Rising Demand for Higher Education.” Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


Invited Talks

2019. “Thinking About Computational Thinking: Questioning the Processes for Flaws, Biases, and Socio-Ethical Implications.” Science and Mathematics Research Seminar. Science and Mathematics Cluster, Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD). (Invited Talk) 



2017. “The Role of Li (禮) in the Distribution of Material Goods.” Paper presented at the 20th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP), at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

2017. “Is There a Social Justice Dimension in Li (禮)?” Paper presented at the 3rd Nanyang Graduate Student Colloquium, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

2015. “Complexity Science and Chinese Philosophy.” Paper co-authored with Jan W. Vasbinder, the Director of the Para Limes, NTU. Paper presented during the Plenary Session of the Conference on Complex Systems in Tempe, Arizona, USA, organised by Arizona State University, the Complex Systems Society and the Santa Fe Institute.

2013. “Reconciling Culinary and Musical Models of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought.” Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP) and the Australasian Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy (ASACP), at the National University of Singapore.



Contributions to Magazines

2014. “Early Chinese Conceptions of Harmony – Drawing Insights for Managing Diversity from Cooking and Music.” Draft 3 (2): 25-42. 


Feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat about education or philosophy. Or, if you’d like to invite me to conduct workshops, talks, or other sessions, do drop me a message.