Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas

Systemics and Information Models



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas


Ciências da Comunicação



Teacher in charge

Graça Rocha Simões

Weekly hours


Teaching language



The main goal of the course is to confer competences (systemic and instrumental) on the relevance of the contributions of the theory of information, of general systems theory and cybernetics (and, in a broader sense, hard sciences) towards the understanding of communication as a human phenomenon, in the technique, interpersonal, group and societal dimensions.
The student must, by the end of the course:
a) Have a high degree of familiarization with me most relevant origins, models and formal theories that have information as its core concept;
b) Have a high degree of familiarization with the most recent developments that sprung from the latter item;
c) Be able to reflect on the applicability of those concepts, models and theories in the analysis of human communication (interpersonal, group, and social).



Subject matter

1. A Mathematical Theory of Communication (Claude Shannon and W. Weaver).
2. Basic notions of Cybernetics (Norbert Wiener).
3. General Systems Theory (Ludwig von Bertalanffy).
4. Systems classification and description
5. Systemic approach and sytems thinking: Apllications and limits
6. On networks and complexity
7. Computers and the human mind: the issue of Artificial Intelligence
8. Social sciences and systemics: applicability of systemic theories to the social complexity.


Bertalanffy, Ludwig von (2006). Teoria Geral dos Sistemas. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes.(1968)
Capra, Fritjof (1996). The Web of Life - A New Synthesis of Mind and Matter. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins
Gleick, James (2012). Informação – Uma história, uma teoria, um dilúvio. Lisboa: Temas e Debates/Círculo Leitores
Kast, Fremont E. and Rosenzweig, James E. (1985). Organization & Management - A Systems and Contingency Approach. NY: McGraw Hill Book Company
Luhmann, Niklas (2009). Introdução à Teoria dos Sistemas – Aulas publicadas por Javier Torres Nafarrate. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes.
Silva, Porfírio (2007). A Cibernética – Onde os reinos fundem. Lisboa: Edições quasi.
Parsons, Talcott (1974). O Sistema das Sociedades Modernas. São Paulo: Livraria Pione
Weaver, Warren e Shannon, Claude E. (1963). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press. (1949)
Wiener, Norbert (1984). Cibernética e Sociedade: O Uso Humano de Seres Humanos. São Paulo: Cultrix. (1951)

Teaching method

The teaching method is mostly expository (70%), but internet will also be used (30%) to underline or clarify theories and concepts.
In class teaching.

Evaluation method

- A individual essay (2000-25000 words) that gives a deeper view of one of the main items of the program (50%).
- A written and presencial element (written test) (50%) - 60 minutes duration.