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).