Intro to Philosophy, Kean University

Professor Parviz Dehghani

Kean University

Introduction to Philosophy

Instructor:                Parviz Dehghani

Phone and Fax #:    (732) 906-8377 {home}.NO CELL

Personal e-mail: (Phone calls preferred for speedy response).


Catalogue Description

PHIL 1100 Introduction to Philosophy (3)

Survey of major issues in philosophical thought and their implications for science, ethics, religion

and politics. (E) General Education Distribution Course


Course Description 

This course will critically examine the fundamental issues and problems in Philosophy. A brief history of philosophy will accompany each lecture so that students will gradually become familiar with the Western intellectual tradition from before Socrates all the way to the present time. In this course students will be induced and provoked to think for themselves rather than let others do the thinking for them. Over the course of this semester we’ll try to see if there is any meaning to life at all because there are thinkers who argue otherwise. We’ll make an attempt to examine our life so we can have an authentic existence rather than just being alive.


Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and define key philosophical terms, periods, theories and figures in Philosophy
  2. Employ the logical and critical thinking methods and evidentiary criteria of philosophy to determine and critique the ways through which philosophers address basic philosophical issues
  3. Distinguish and analyze the basic issues of the major subfields of philosophy, primarily those of epistemology, metaphysics and ethics; and then also such other areas as philosophy of science, aesthetics, neuroscience,      philosophy of religion, etc.
  4. Interpret, summarize and paraphrase the views of philosophers as expressed in philosophical writings
  5. Present and support your own views on philosophical issues clearly, logically, concisely & coherently



The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress

by John Marmysz


This course consists of four major parts:

1 – Class Presentation (10%)

2 – Three Quizzes (20%)

3 – Midterm (Three Page Paper) (30%)

4 – Final Exam (40%)




THREE TIMES A WEEK MISSES 3 CLASSES OR MORE OR A STUDENT WHO IS IN A CLASS THAT MEETS ONCE A WEEK MISSES 2 CLASSES OR MORE. (i.e. If you have an A you will get an A-). Those with legitimate documented reasons may discuss their concern if a situation occurs.


Attendance is expected in all courses. Attendance will be a component of the grade of any course if so stated in the syllabus. Students are responsible for informing the instructor in advance or in a timely manner of the reasons for their absence. Instructors in consultation with their department chairs are expected to respect university practices and policies regarding what counts as an excused absence. Typically excused absences include illness, bereavement or religious observances. Serious tardiness may be dealt with at the discretion of the instructor.

Observance of a religious holiday is to be considered an excused absence from class for any student. If a student misses a scheduled examination or other announced assignment because of observance of a religious holiday, the student and instructor shall agree upon a mutually convenient time as an alternate date for completion of the assignment.



Students get picked up at random for presentations and get graded in class. They can also be asked to give presentations for the second time around for which they will get either a positive sign or a negative one based on their performance.

Students are expected to read and fully understand their assigned reading sections before coming to the class. They can either write their notes or type them as they wish. However, they are not to read from them. Copying the text and reading it in the class in not considered a presentation.

Having eye contact with everybody in the class is a ‘must’. The presenter must consider the historical aspect of his or her topic as well as the depth of the material in order to earn a good grade.

Each day there are assigned readings (noted in the reading list given). In each class the student must print the chapter and the questions and be prepared to discuss the chapter and the questions in class.

Students will be picked randomly by the Professor. Remember attendance is mandatory, if you are not in class, I am not able to pick you up for presentation. Also, if you are picked and unprepared, you will be a given another chance to present, but points will be deducted. Participation during a presentation is important as well. Cultivate discussion by asking questions during class presentations, especially ones that are text related.



You will be required to write a three-page paper using your texts, library sources, and class notes if needed. The class texts must not be bypassed for they are your main sources. The Internet cannotbe used as a source in the paper but students are free to read the material available on it concerning the subjects of their papers. All papers are to be cited properly, for example, (Palmer, p. 154). Failure to do so will render points reduction. The first page will be research, the second page will be a student’s personal life experience (students are to think for themselves and discuss their own personal experiences and/or experiences of their friends or loved ones in relation to their chosen topic) and the third page will be the conclusion in which the students will summarize how their personal life experiences relate to the religious subject at hand. The conclusion is where the student will either agree or disagree with the religion or religious views and analyze their given situation with relation to the topic they have chosen for their paper. Students can choose any topic throughout the text. A bibliography is not necessary unless new sources aside from the course text are used. Students are not allowed to bypass their texts and write their papers based on another source. Depth is the key in this course. Do not let your papers be ordinary, strive to be unique and express your own individual perspectives on the issues. Use your past and present experiences or even what you are planning to do in the future for your life in relation to your topics. Your grades will reflect what you put into the papers.


  1. Final Examination:

The Final Exam will be based on class discussions and lectures as well as the text. Therefore, it is very important not to miss too many classes because 75% of your final exam depends on class discussions.


Academic Integrity Policy

Students are required to read and understand the contents of the Academic Integrity Policy, a copy of the policy can be obtained at the center for Academic Success or at The violations of this policy include Cheating, Plagiarism, Fabrication and Academic Misconduct.

Student Code of Conduct

Expectations of appropriate conduct in the classroom:

Campus Alert

This is the University’s emergency notification system (, you are urged to register with the system in order to be informed of campus emergencies, weather notices, and other announcements.

Kean Email Account

All students must have a valid Kean e-mail account. For those who do not already have one, forms are available on-line at; click on E-mail Account Request Form.

Remember your attitude is the key to success in this class.

Recommended Texts:

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Simon Blackburn, Oxford, USA; 2nd edition, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-0199541430

The Philosopher’s Toolkit, 2nd Edition, Julian Baggini& Peter S. Fosl, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010,ISBN:9781405190183

What Does it All Mean?, Thomas Nagel, Oxford, 1987, ISBN: 0-19-505216-1

A Rulebook for Arguments, Andrew Weston, 4th edition, Hackett, 2009, ISBN: 9780872209541

Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s GreatestPhilosophers, Will Durant, Pocket Press, ISBN: 0671739166

Why Truth Matters, Ophelia Benson & Jeremy Stangroom, Continuum Press, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-8264-9528-0

Being Logical, D.Q. McInerny, Random House, 2004, ISBN: 0-8129-7115-9

How to Get the Most Out of Philosophy, Sixth Edition, Douglas J. Soccio, Wadsworth, 2006, ISBN: 0-495-17223-5

How to Read a Book The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, Mortimer J. Adler, Touchstone, ISBN: 0671212095

Crimes Against Logic, Jamie Whyte, McGraw-Hill, 2005, ISBN:0-07-144643-5


Philosophy on the WWW:

Ethics Supersite:

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Philosophy Now Magazine:

The Philosopher’s Magazine:

Episteme Links Site:

Philosophy Study Guides:

Philosophy Pages… from Garth Kemerling:

Intute Index:

Erratic Impact Database:

Philosophy texts & humor:

The American Philosophical Association Online:

Socratic Argument clinic:

Religious Faith Consistency Test:

Philosophy Texts Online:

Philosophy Texts Online:

Philosophy Texts Online:

Early Modern Philosophy Texts online:

Philosophy Study Guides:

Online Philosophical Dictionaries:




Philosophy Paper writing: