Saint Louis University

Office: McGannon Hall, Room 148
Phone: 314.977.4240


Office Hours:  Fall 2016 -- R 2:15-4:15

Dr. Ruth Groff, Associate Professor of Political Science, specializes in the philosophical underpinnings of Western social and political thought. She joined the SLU faculty in 2008.

Education and background. Dr. Groff received her B.A. from Swarthmore College. Her M.A. is from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. is from York University (Canada).

Teaching. Dr. Groff offers courses in the history of Western social, political, and moral thought; courses in contemporary Marxist and neo-Aristotelian theory; and courses on structural power. She admits to an abiding love of Plato, whose work she teaches with a special passion. Dr. Groff convenes a reading group, open to faculty and students.

Research. Dr. Groff's research crosses the boundaries between philosophy, social theory, and political theory. Her first book, Critical Realism, Post-Positivism and the Possibility of Knowledge (2004), had to do with the ontological assumptions that underpin relativism about knowledge. Her current work has two focal points: alternatives to the Humean metaphysical infrastructure of modern political theory, and the points of potential fruitful contact between Western Marxism and neo-Aristotelianism/virtue ethics. She has recently edited a cross-disciplinary collection of articles called Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science (2007), and is currently co-editing a volume on the concepts of powers and capacities in philosophy. She is at work on a new book, entitled Ontology Revisited: Metaphysics in Social and Political Philosophy, under contract with Routledge.

Dr. Groff is an editor of the Journal of Critical Realism. She is also the Reviews Editor for the journal New Political Science.

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Undergraduate Courses:
Foundations of Political Theory syllabus
Ancient Political Theory/Modern Political Theory syllabus
Renaissance and Modern Political Theory syllabus
Kant and Contemporary Political Theory syllabus
The Idea of Democracy syllabus
Capitalism, Racism, and Patriarchy syllabus
Introduction to Critical Theory & the Frankfurt School
Marx's Capital syllabus
History of Political Thought syllabus
Issues in Political Philosophy syllabus


Graduate Courses:
Reason, Virtue and Politics
Structures of Power, Structures of Thought syllabus
Introduction to Critical Theory & the Frankfurt School
Marx's Capital syllabus
History of Political Thought syllabus