About the site.

Contemporary Egalitarianism

Contemporary Egalitarianism is an undergraduate course in political philosophy. In it, we try to think through two main questions: Is it unjust for a society to be unequal? If equality is desirable, what kind of equality?

The course starts by exploring abstract answers to these questions. We build on the classical late-20th century theoretical debates between democratic egalitarians, luck egalitarians, libertarians, and others. Key disagreements amongst the theories include: the proper meaning of fairness; what citizens can be said to deserve or be entitled to; the place of merit and effort; and the connection between economic equality and broader political equality.

But our goal is not pure abstract philosophical speculation. We aspire to connect theory with practice, with special focus on our local Singaporean context. What conceptions of equality underpin the Singaporean social order? Are they fully realised? If not, what needs to be done? Are they defensible? What alternative visions might be possible?

The articles on this site represent students’ self-directed final course papers, trying to reach these course aspirations of bridging theory and practice.

Democratic Theory

Democratic Theory is an undergraduate course in political philosophy. In it, we try to think through pressing questions such as: Why is democracy valuable? What does it even mean to call a political order a democracy? How can democracy represent a ‘will of the people’ if the people disagree with one other? Does democracy conflict other important values and goals?

The course first builds up a range of theoretical tools to think about democracy. Reading the history of political thought, we gain critical perspective on the defining features of democratic systems. From contemporary democratic theory, we explore topics such as deliberation, representation, electoral system design, and civil society: do they improve or diminish the democratic credentials of a political order?

But our goal is not pure abstract philosophical speculation. We aspire to connect theory with practice, with special focus on our local Singaporean context. What is the history of Singaporean democracy, and how has it evolved over time? What conceptions of democracy underpin the Singaporean political order? Are they fully realised? If not, what needs to be done? Are they defensible? What alternative visions might be possible?

The articles on this site represent students’ self-directed final course papers, trying to reach these course aspirations of bridging theory and practice.

Sandra Leonie Field
Assistant Professor of Humanities (Philosophy)