Robert Roecklein, Ph.D.

Robert Roecklein, Ph.D.
Teaching Professor, English and Political Science
45 Kochel
Mailing Address:
ERIE, PA 16563

Dr. Robert J. Roecklein was born in Washington Township, New Jersey. He received the B.A. degree in Government cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1983. In 1990 and 1997, Roecklein received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Dr. Roecklein received training in an interdisciplinary writing program at Rutgers while writing his dissertation. In the fall of 1999, he was appointed co-director of the Douglas campus writing program, overseeing thirty-five faculty, and running the college writing center. In September of 2001, Roecklein joined the Composition program at Penn State Behrend, teaching three semesters of composition and one section of political philosophy each semester.

Roecklein has published three books since 2010 on the issue of perception as it bears upon representative government. Early Modern Philosophy revived ancient atomism, and said atomism denies that human perceptions can adequately or directly know the external objects about us. This subtle and sophisticated teaching was refuted by Plato in his dialogue the Parmenides. Roecklein revives Plato’s critique, and applies it to a succession of Early Modern Political Philosophers: Machiavelli, Bacon, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Bentham. One must understand the physics behind modern political science, in order to be able to arrive at a satisfactory understanding of its ethical intent.

Roecklein teaches four different political philosophy courses here at Penn State Behrend: 017W (Writing Intensive Introduction to Political Philosophy); 430 (Selected Texts in the History of Political Philosophy); 432 (Modern and Contemporary Political Philosophy); and 155 (Understanding Tyranny).

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 004, Basic Writing Skills
  • ENGL 015, Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENGL 202A, Effective Writing: Writing in the Social Sciences
  • PHIL 115, Introduction to Philosophy and Education
  • PL SC 017W, Introduction to Political Theory
  • PL SC 155, Understanding Tyranny
  • PL SC 296, Independent Studies
  • PL SC 430, Selected Works in the History of Political Theory
  • PL SC 432, Modern and Contemporary Political Theories
  • PL SC 496, Independent Studies
  • PL SC 496E, Political Philosophy and Ethics--Kantian Politics

I am working on a book focused on Immanuel Kant, his Critique of Pure Reason and his Critique of Practical Reason.

Kant's Philosophy and the Momentum of Modernity - February, 2019

Locke, Hume and the Treacherous Logos of Atomism: The Eclipse of Democratic Values in the Early Modern Period - October 12, 2015

Machiavelli and Epicureanism: An Investigation into the Origins of Early Modern Political Thought. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2014, paperback edition. - May 15, 2014

Politicized Physics in the Seventeenth Century Philosophy: Essays on Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes and Spinoza - February 12, 2014

'Machiavelli Discourses: the Birth of Neo-Epicureanism, Lo Sguardo ( - November 12, 2013

Machiavelli and Epicureanism: An Investigation into the Origins of Early Modern Political Thought. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2012. - October, 2012

Review of Vishwa Adluri, 'Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy: Return from Transcendence. New York: Continuum, 2011., Polis - July, 2012

Plato Versus Parmenides: The Debate Over Coming-into-Being in Greek Philosophy - 2011

Ph D, Political Philosophy, Rutgers, The Sate University of New Jersey

MA, Political Science, Rutgers, The Sate University of New Jersey

BA, Government, The University of Notre Dame