Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas

Philosophy of Communication



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas


Ciências da Comunicação



Teacher in charge

Luiz Carlos Mansur Baptista

Weekly hours


Teaching language



To discuss and understand the main philosophical issues regarding communication.
To situate the philosophical discussions in the context of contemporary debates about communication.
To offer the students the necessary conceptual tools for a critical analysis of communication.


Not applicable.

Subject matter

1. History of the idea of communication
2. Philosophy of communication: an overview
3. Foundations
Dialogue: Socrates and Phaedrus
Dissemination: Jesus and the parable of the sower
Soul and body: Augustine
The inner and the outer: John Locke
4. Contemporary debates
Adorno and the culture industry
Habermas: communicative action
Luhmann and the improbable communication
Wittgenstein and language games
Austin, Searle, Grice: language and pragmatics
Lévinas and alterity
Sloterdijk and action at a distance
Diference, deferment, dissemination: Derrida
McLuhan: the medium as the message
Foucault: power and panoptism
Baudrillard and the precession of simulacra
Rhizome, difference and repetition: Deleuze (and Guattari)
5. The philosophy of communication as philosophy of interfaces
Communication and cognition
Cognitive technologies
Cognitive ecology
Interface politics


A parábola do semeador.
Adorno, ´A indústria cultural’.
Austin, ‘Locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts’.
Baudrillard, ‘A precessão dos simulacros’.
Deleuze, ‘Repetição e diferença’.
Deleuze e Guattari, ‘Rizoma’.
Derrida, ´A diferença’.
Foucault, M., ‘O panoptismo’.
Galloway, ‘The unworkable interface’.
Grice, ‘Logic and conversation’.
Habermas, ‘Alguns esclarecimentos suplementares sobre o conceito de racionalidade comunicativa’.
Hanley, ‘Simulacra and simulation: Baudrillard and The Matrix’.
Lévinas, ‘Rosto e ética’.
Lévy, As Tecnologias da Inteligência.
Locke, Ensaio acerca do Entendimento Humano.
Luhmann, ‘A improbabilidade da comunicação’.
McLuhan, ‘The medium is the message’.
Peters, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication.
Platão, Fedro.
Santo Agostinho, De Magistro.
Searle, ‘The structure of illocutionary acts’.
Sloterdijk, ‘Actio in distans´.
Sperber e Wilson, ‘Communication’.
Wittgenstein, Investigações Filosóficas

Teaching method

The course is based on the theoretical exposition and classroom discussions of the topics presented in each class.
In class teaching

Evaluation method

In-class exam: 60%. Group essay: 40%.