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OMKG 2725A - To Move and Be Moved: An Introduction to Persuasion

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Throughout history, being able to influence others has been regarded in many different ways. Plato famously criticized traveling teachers who taught persuasive rhetoric, while today's “influencers” are highly sought out. In this course, we will consider persuasion in three ways: (1.) by surveying the ancient literature on rhetoric; (2.) examining the modern, psychological findings on persuasion and argumentation (3.) and by reflecting on the moral implications of persuasion. Throughout, we will evaluate which strategies are most successful and we will consider why they work, paying special attention to whether we are being moved by our emotions, clear and sound reasoning, or some mixture of the two. By the end of the course, students will have been exposed to the primary and most compelling means of persuasion; they will have a general sense of why they work; and they will have practiced applying them.


FREY, Darren Paul (Consultant)

Pedagogical format

The course will be taught as a special topic seminar, which means that lectures will be supplemented with opportunities for students to engage the material more thoroughly and with in-class discussions and exercises. Additionally, we will consult various media and there will be two invited guests, a political strategist and an actress.

Course validation

Structured, in-class assignments constitute 60% of the grade. Given the importance of the classroom exercises and participation, the remainder of the grade (40%) is assigned to these.


Students will be expected to read each week's assignment and to formulate articulate comments and criticisms each session, even when not presenting, so they should expect to spend 2-4 hours outside of class per week preparing for the course.

Required reading

  • The course readings will consist of texts and articles that are jointly drawn from philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and marketing domains. Students are expected to complete the short reading assignments before each class meeting. These are detailed on the syllabus. In addition, there are supplementary texts that are recommended but not required. In order of importance, the primary of these are: Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuassion
  • Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow
  • George Akerloff and Robert Shiller, Phishing for Phools
  • Richard Nisbett, Mindware.

Additional required reading

Aristotle, Rhetoric