Rowan University
Ellen Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy & Religion
Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ 08028
Office: 117 Linden Hall

Office Phone:  856-256-4835

Dr. Ellen Miller
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   Current Courses
Introduction to Philosophy    (Mon-Weds)
Introduction to Philosophy    (Tues.)
Introduction to Ethics
Philosophy and Gender

    Previous Courses

Contemporary  Moral Problems
Philosophy and Society
Logic of Everyday Reasoning
Feminist Theory
Western        Humanities

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Philosophy Dept.


Presentation and Final Individual Papers


  1. Day of Presentation—Hand in 1page outline of your presentation with an abstract of what you will discuss in your talk.
  2. Actual presentation (approximately 10 minutes). Dates to be decided.
  3. A final paper due on May 13th. The paper will be approximately 6-8 pages long.

Remember: Your presentation/paper should be a formal presentation where you analyze specific parts of the required readings and any supplementary reading you do. Review the requirements explained in the course syllabus and our seminar on how to write a philosophy paper for further details.

I am happy to read drafts of your papers and to review topics before your presentation. As noted, the earlier you come see me the better. I can help you much more if you allow time to incorporate our discussions into your work.

Oral Presentations—“I have to give an oral presentation…now what!?”

 1. Plan the structure of your presentation. For a 10 minute talk, the following breakdown will work:

Introduction--1 minute:  Body of talk-- 7 mins:  Conclusion 2 mins

 2. Leave your audience something to think about along the way, so they not only feel enlightened but drawn into and excited about your subject.

 3. Don't attempt the impossible in a 10 minute talk. Concentrate on getting across a small number of ideas.

 4. Don't rush. Include pauses to give time for the audience to think or reflect on your points. It should take about 2 minutes to get through one page of text.

 5. Keep to the time allotted (10 minutes). Practice your talk out loud to yourself, friend, or family member so you know if you need to add more or cut out material. You do not need to allow time within this 10 minutes for questions. You are not expected to engage your peers in a discussion. There will be time after your presentation for brief questions and comments from your classmates.

 6. This is not primarily a research assignment. I will not automatically give you extra points for using lots of sources (this applies to your written work as well). Your presentation should demonstrate your understanding of the political/social theories under discussion.

7. Finish on a positive and definite note. This is very important since your final comments remain in the minds of those assessing the talk. You can conclude by reminding people of the key points or asking a question of your audience.


You can read your presentation or alternate between reading your paper and explaining your points without reading directly from your paper. Remember to read with enthusiasm and interest in your subject. This means that you need to think carefully about the readings/topics you choose. Pick issues/concepts/readings that interest you the most. Even though I am not grading your primarily on your ability to deliver a paper (content is the most important aspect of evaluation), it is important to read slowly and clearly.


The main aspect of evaluation will be evaluating how prepared you are for your presentation and the information presented in your talk. I am also looking for your ability to relate theory to practical contemporary moral issues. I am not grading your ability to engage the class or field questions. Your presentation is one part of your grade for this assignment. The other part of your grade is based upon the paper you write following your presentation (see criteria above for writing Philosophy papers, section V. syllabus). I will discuss details concerning the paper in class.

Some possible Topics:

You may write on any topic that has been covered this semester. Your paper/presentation should be substantially different from other papers you have written for the course. You may write on articles you have previously written on as part (only part) of this final project. You may relate the course readings to a contemporary issue in the media, film, or book of your choice in order to further clarify your viewpoints. This is not a research paper. It is a philosophy paper.

1. What is it like to be a philosopher? Compare at least three approaches to philosophy discussed this semester.

2. What is the connection between the mind and the body? How are the body and mind connected? How would Descartes and Ryle respond? What are some of the ways that modern science and medicine splits off the body from the mind (assumes they are not connected).

3.  What is the connection between genius and gender according to Linda Nochlin. Does gender matter when it comes to art and music and literature? Is there such a thing as women’s music, women’s writings, male films? Explain your answer.

  1. What is the relationship between religion and philosophy? You might look at the role of religion (or lack of it) in the moral theories we discussed, Socrates and religion, and/or the readings from philosophy of religion.
  2. How would a utilitarian deal with a real life moral problem (for example: whistle blowing, lying in office, animal rights, euthanasia).
  3. How might Hassan’s article and peace and education influence the talks going on today about the relationship between Islamic countries and the US?
  4. Compare and contrast Indian philosophy with the views of Socrates/Descartes/Hobbes (pick at least two).

Final Notes:

There is no final exam for this course. This is your opportunity to shine for the last time in the course! Let’s make these as great as possible!

Even though this is not a research paper, you may want to read one or two outside articles. I have lots of resources! Once you have your general topic picked out, come talk to me about good outside readings that will help you in your work.










Copyright 2001 Dr. Ellen Miller. All rights reserved. Document last modified