Theory of Communication


A. Knowing and understanding conceptual categories in an analytical and critical way.
B. Being able to apply previous learning in new situations, using intersubjective and interdisciplinary approaches.
C. Thinking and solving problems with autonomy and argumentative basis, practicing recognition and managing the plurality.
D. Gathering, selecting and interpreting information about events, scientific research, debates on public space and trends of development.
E. Communicating information, ideas and projects at conceptual and practical levels.
F. Developing:
a) Analysis and synthesis abilities;
b) Oral and written communication;
c) Critical reasoning;
d) Autonomous learning;
e) Research skills;
f) Individual work.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Marcin Lewinski


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Austin, J.L. (1962). How to do Things with Words. Oxford University Press.

[Austin, J.L. (1990). Quando Dizer é Fazer: Palavras e Ação. Trad. por D. Marcondes de Souza Filho. Porto Alegre: Editora Artes Médicas.]

Frankfurt, H. G., (2005). On Bullshit. Princeton University Press.

[Frankfurt, H. G., (2018). Bullshit: Sobre a Conversa Fiada, o Embuste e a Mentira. Mem Martins: Bookout Editora.]

Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics, Vol. 3: Speech acts (pp. 41-58). Academic Press.

[Grice, H. P. (1982). Lógica e conversação. In: M. Dascal (org.), Fundamentos metodológicos da linguística, Vol. 4 (pp. 81-103), trad. porJ. W. Geraldi. Campinas.]

Maitra, I., & McGowan, M. K., eds. (2012). Speech and Harm: Controversies over Free Speech. Oxford University Press.

O'Neill, O. (2022). A Philosopher Looks at Digital Communication. Cambridge University Press. 

Plato. (1979). Gorgias. Oxford University Press.

[Platão. (2006). Górgias. Trad. por M. de Oliveira Pulquério. Lisboa: Edições 70]

Saul. J. (2012). Lying, Misleading, and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics. Oxford University Press.

Stanley, J. (2015). How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press.

Tomasello, M. (2008). Origins of Human Communication. MIT Press.

Tomasello, M. (2019). Communication. In M. Tomasello, Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny (pp. 91-133). Harvard University Press.

Teaching method

In-person teaching
Teaching is based on prior reading of texts, theoretical exposition of the subject, and discussion of the themes presented in each class – and includes exercises and presentations in groups.

Evaluation method

Method of Evaluation 

40% - Mid-tem exam

60% - Final exam

Subject matter

Part I - Communication as a theoretical problem

1. The concept of communication (Plato, Gorgias)

2. The origins of human communication: from animals to humans (Tomasello)

a. Natural gestures (pointing, pantomiming)

b. Conventions

c. Cooperation and shared intentions

Part II - Communication and language: The Pragmatics of Communication

1. Rational foundations for conversation (Grice)

2. Speech act theory: (Austin, Searle)

Part III - Communication, rationality and manipulation

1. Speech acts as social and political acts (Langton, Saul, Stanley, McGowan, Maitra)

2. Communication, ethics and media (Frankfurt, O'Neill)

Part IV - Communication and technology

1. Digital networks and interaction

2. Communication and Artificial Intelligence (Turing, Searle)