From fall 2007 to winter 2012, I was involved in teaching four existing and regular courses and launching two new graduate level (M.A) courses which aimed to prepare students for more advanced work at the PhD level.
Contemporary Continental Philosophy: The Main Figures and Movements in the Twentieth Century (full course, undergraduate level, third- and fourth-year students, 32 sessions, 2 sessions per week, two semesters, 64 sessions). This course has categorized all schools of continental philosophies in correlation with Phenomenology, which is probably the most significant branch of philosophy, coined by Edmund Husserl in the beginning of 20th century. After Husserl advanced his own ‘Transcendental phenomenology’, many other kinds of phenomenology appeared in 20th-century contemporary philosophy. Among them were Ontological phenomenology (Heidegger-Merleau-Ponty), Existential phenomenology (Jaspers, Marcel, Sartre), Hermeneutical phenomenology (Gadamer, Ricoeur), Poststructuralism/Linguistical phenomenology (Blanchot, Foucault, Derrida), Ethical phenomenology (Levinas), and Phenomenology of practice or Experiential/Applied phenomenology (in psychology, nursing and education). This course, which was considered a full-year course with 8 credits, aimed to provide a general idea of twentieth century contemporary philosophy with reference to different kinds of phenomenology.
Contemporary Philosophies : Critical Theory and Metaphilosophy, Philosophy as a Philosophical Question (half-course, graduate level, first- and second-year students, 16 sessions, 1 session per week). This course demonstrates that there are four main elements in the thoughts of Frankfurt’s first generation ( Horkheimer, Adorno & other): 1) ‘Restorative-Anamnestic’, 2) Utopian, 3) of spiritual contemplation, and 4) of emancipation. These aspects also exist in Frankfurt’s second generation and in Habermas’s ideas, which are its most prominent representative. However, the emancipatory aspect of Habermas’s thought moved from struggle (in the first generation) to communication (in Habermas). As a major representative of the third generation of Frankfurt school, Axel Honneth replaces Habermas’s theory of communicative action with his own theory of recognition. The course, accordingly, will examine the critical theory of Frankfurt school with reference to struggle (first generation), communication (second generation) and recognition (third generation). All approaches of all generations, however, were employed to serve emancipation and to critique philosophy. That is why the critical theory of Frankfurt school can generally be considered as a critique of philosophy, namely, Metaphilosophy.
Contemporary Philosophies : The Idea of University: From Kant to Derrida (half-course, graduate level, first- and second-year students, 16 sessions, 1 session per week). By referring to the history of university in Western civilization and the thoughts of philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Jacques Derrida concerning the definition of University, this new course examines the problem concerning university as an institution and as an idea. The course argues that the history of the university intimately follows the history of Western culture. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, it was the Christian church that held Western culture in unity. The University of Paris was the medieval university par excellence. In 1694, a new type of university came into existence that separated from the ways of the past. Established in Prussia approximately five centuries after the University of Paris, the University of Halle departed from the Parisian idea that higher education must be comprehended inside the framework of the Christian faith and introduced the idea of the university as a secular institution existing to assist the secular state. This idea is the essential element of the modern university. Both the Universities of Paris and Halle emphasize that aspect of the university that has represented the interests of the wider society. In contrast, the University of Berlin was founded in order that a few academically capable individuals could pursue knowledge. The current age of globalization, formed around the idea of economism, necessitates a new type of university. Its exemplar is the University of Phoenix, founded in 1976 as a business-related university compelled by law to make the most financial gain for its financiers. The idea forming the foundation of this university is that the most significant purpose of higher education is to teach functional skills and knowledge to its ‘customers’—the word it prefers to ‘students’.On a philosophical level, this course will examine Kant’s The Conflict of the Faculties, Jaspers’ The Idea of the University: An Existentialist Argument for an Institution Concerned with Freedom, Heidegger’s “The Self-Assertion of the German University,” and “Toward a Philosophical Orientation for Academics,” and Gadamer’s “The Idea of the University. ” Special attention will be paid to Derrida’s “The University Without Condition,” ” “The principle of reason: The university in the eyes of its pupils,” and the Eyes of the University. Derrida challenges the common connotation of university as an exclusively institutional term. He argues that university as an idea has a boundless, unrestricted and unconditional implication. Derrida’s approach on the idea of university, indeed, elevates the course in its final stage to contemplate the ‘university to come’.
Interpretation of Philosophical Texts in English Language I & II (full course, undergraduate level, third- and fourth-year students, 32 sessions, 2 sessions per week). This course, which can be considered a chronological journey through Western philosophy in the English language, begins with pre-Socratic philosophers and ends with the great 20th century French philosopher John Paul Sartre. To extend the historical overview of Western philosophy, the final two sessions of this course will be devoted to two contemporary leading scholars in the field of philosophy. The primary aim of structuring such a wide-ranging course is to provide a very basic conceptual framework of Western philosophy in the English language. In other words, the main purpose of this course is to introduce some fundamental English philosophical concepts related to the philosophers listed in the course outline, rather than to provide an historical overview of Western philosophy.
Interpretation of Primary Philosophical Texts: Heidegger’s The Basic Problems of Phenomenology (half-course, graduate level, first- and second-year students, 16 sessions, 1 session per week). The aim of this course is to shed light on the introduction of Heidegger’s significant book (indeed, lecture series), that is, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. The course will be an exploration of the meaning, nature, historical roots, and practical significance of phenomenology, articulated in that book. The course will begin with some methodological issues: What is Philosophy? What is Phenomenology? How can these phenomena be studied? By referring to Heidegger’s The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, we will argue that the objective of Heidegger’s lecture series is to complete the project of Being and Time. This is connected with the destruction of the history of philosophy through a deadlock arising from complications involving the notions of Being and Dasein (a neologism coined by Heidegger which he used as a synonym for human being or human entity). Heidegger divides his introduction to the The Basic Problems of Phenomenology into five interrelated sections: 1) Exposition and general division of the theme; 2) The concept of philosophy: Philosophy and world-view; 3) Philosophy as science of being; 4) The four theses about being and the basic problems of phenomenology; and 5) The character of ontological method: The three basic components of the Phenomenological method. This course, accordingly, will examine these five topics across 16 sessions and will strive to contribute toward generating a more sufficient, though not necessarily complete or definitive, examination of these philosophical issues. Goals for students enrolled in this course are to develop the ability to interpret texts and to think about conflicting philosophical and phenomenological claims.