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 and Society Midterm Essay

 Due Date:   October 16, 2002 Beginning of class

Length: Approximately 5-6 pages

Format: Typed, Double-spaced, Name and course on Cover page only. Please follow checklist provided in class (this is also posted on our website) for all other stylistic and formatting concerns. Also indicate which question # you are answering

 Estimated Completion Time: 2-3 hours. I highly suggest writing a draft, letting it sit, and then starting over again without looking at your draft.  Try to write at least one draft of your paper. Editing should involve substantial re-working not just grammatical proofreading.

 Important Note on Plagiarism: Cheating will be dealt with in a strict manner according to the University guidelines and Honor code. You are welcome to seek out quality secondary materials that will assist your writing. However, you must document these properly even if you are paraphrasing.  

Directions: Please answer one question to the best of your ability. You should include your understanding and assessment of the text and concepts under discussion in your answers. Include specific textual references to back up your claims and ideas.

 A (Plato and Aristotle)

  1. Compare and contrast Aristotle and Plato’s views on what constitutes a good society. Explain the similarities and differences between these two writers. Be sure to include your assessment of these views in your answer.
  2. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle views on the family’s role in society. Be sure to include your assessment of these views in your answer.

B (Separate authors) 

  1. Explain Plato’s views about the guardians' preparation for war. How do his views compare with our country’s banning women from the draft (see Ethical Issues in the Courts)? Critically assess both positions on women and the military.
  2. Explain and assess Plath’s educational reforms proposed in the Republic. Be sure to explain the guiding principles that underlie Plato’s account. Do you think Plato’s reforms have a place in our diverse, pluralist society? Be sure to include reference to the Supreme Court cases on educating Amish children discussed in class.
  3. Explain and assess Aristotle’s understanding of the importance of friendship for leading a happy and virtuous life. That is, Aristotle thinks that the final end (purpose) of man is happiness which he defines as an activity of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue in a complete life. How do his views on friendship relate to his overall understanding of the goal of politics. How do his views on friendship relate to contemporary views?

 C. Philosophy and Art

6. Analyze a specific part of Plato or Aristotle’s views by putting their views in dialogue with a film or piece of literature. You can make this creative if you like. For example, you might use the film Gattica to discuss Plato's’ ideas concerning genetic engineering. You might compare Aristotle’s views on friendship with the movie Clueless or the Jane Austen novel Emma. This assignment means you will have to tell me enough about the artwork so I have a general understanding of it (I usually don’t need that much), and you will have to be able to work in your philosophical analysis with your essay or film/book review. This sort of comparison between philosophy and art is really fun (I do it for a living!), but sometimes it’s difficult to combine the two. I encourage you to give it a try especially if you love books/movies…

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