Rowan University
Ellen Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy & Religion
Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ 08028
Office: 321 B
unce Hall
Office Phone:  856-256-4835

Dr. Ellen Miller
Home Page
Curriculum Vitae
Current Courses
Introduction to Philosophy   (Mon. & Weds.)
Introduction to Philosophy   (Tuesday)
Introduction to Ethics
Philosophy and Gender


   Previous Courses

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

Library of Congress
Philosophy Library
Rowan University

Rowan Univ.
About The University
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Philosophy Dept.


Click Here for Reading and OtherAssignments

Philosophy and Society


Click Here for Web Links

Announcements for Philosophy and Society

Summary of On Liberty (Entire Essay).

 Summary of Chapter Five, On Liberty, Mill

  Autobiography of JS Mill--Click here

Martin Luther King:

Sept 29--Meet with Groups in Classroom Click Here for Handout. Class is optional on Oct 1

Midterm Exam

Katha Pollitt Responses for Are Women Morally Superior...! Click me

Click Here for Essay Checklist (Important) Also Handed out in class

Click Here for Suggested Presentation Topics



 Course Description and Objectives

One of the central features of human life is that we are social creatures. We associate with one another under the governance of norms that are determined by the inter-relationship of tradition, custom, deliberation, and choice. In this course we will examine, analyze, and critically discuss how a variety of classical philosophers and political theorists attempt to evaluate various aspects of human social and political life. Our readings and discussions will focus on the ways these political philosophers have responded to the demands for justice, freedom, equality, and community. We will examine their reasons for preferring some forms of social organization and criticizing others. Students are encouraged to carefully reflect and interpret these theories in order to develop a clearer, more articulate sense of their own political views and the philosophical assumptions underpinning those views. This course also aims to develop students’ skills in careful reading and interpretation of philosophical texts, oral and written exposition, and critical reflection.

          It is important to apply the political and social theories we read to contemporary life. Lectures and discussions will emphasize how our readings relate to contemporary issues alive in the news, political arena, workplace, and our everyday personal and social lives. Students are encouraged to keep informed about local, national and international events in the news so that our class discussions can relate these events to the political philosophers we read.

 If you have a disability which may require assistance or accommodations, or you have questions related to any accommodations for testing, note takers, readers, etc..., please speak with me as soon as possible.

           I.                   Required Texts (Available at Rowan University Bookstore--Phone: 256-4660)

            1.       Classics of Moral and Political Theory, edited by Michael L. Morgan, Second Edition, Hackett Publishing 

2.                Ethical Issues in the Courts: A Companion to Philosophical Ethics, Julie Van Camp, Wadsworth, 2001 (EI)

3.       Articles on Reserve at Rowan University Library ( Phone Number: 256-4800)

 III.              Academic Honesty Policy

All forms of academic dishonesty, namely, cheating on exams, submitting plagiarized or fabricated work from another person’s book or web-site, submitting another person’s work without informing the instructor, or engaging in any kind of deception that would bear on the evaluation of submitted work will be dealt with in a strict manner in accordance with Rowan University policy (See Undergraduate catalog). If you find yourself thinking about submitting work that is not your own due to pressure, frustration, or perfectionism, please come talk to me. I am here to help you resolve these issues before they become a problem for your academic career at Rowan and beyond.

Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offense. Penalties can range from getting zero on the assignment through getting an F in the course to being expelled from the university. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to be as thorough as possible in documenting the sources you rely on for the claims you make in your papers. One common reason for plagiarism is confusion about when documentation is and is not required. I am always happy to talk to you about any and all issues related to plagiarism.

 IV.               Attendance, Lateness, and Class Policies

This course will emphasize dialogue, exchange, and debate with your peers and the professor. It is important that you attend class so that you can participate in the discussions. Discussion-focused classes can be a wonderful learning experience, but only if all participants are diligent in attending class meetings so that we can have a good discussion each day. If circumstances beyond your control do prevent you from attending a class meeting, please inform me in writing or by phone as soon as possible. There will be opportunity for students to practice writing through informal class writing activities.

  • Please arrive for class on-time

  • Please turn off cell-phones, pagers, and beepers before class

  • In order to enhance student learning, please do not engage in side conversations during class

  • More than 6 unexcused absences will result in grade depreciation


  V.       Late Papers and Exams

        Students are responsible for assignments, homework, group work missed due to illness. Please check with instructor or classmate concerning assignments given during missed classes.

        Students are responsible for all scheduled and announced exams, assignments, and papers. If you have an emergency, please notify the instructor as soon as possible to arrange an extension. Extensions will be granted at the discretion of the instructor.

        Exams missed without notifying instructor before or after exam will result in a failing grade

        Unexcused late work will be penalized.

 VI.  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.

 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.

 You are not expected to use media in your presentation. However, I can arrange to provide accessories for your presentation with prior notice .


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.

 VIII.  Calendar: Subject to change according to class discussion—Please stay informed of any             

I hope this course will be productive, enjoyable and fun. I look forward to hearing your ideas and viewpoints on the social and political theories and contemporary issues we discuss throughout the semester.





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