This machine kills fascists : detecting propaganda with formal models of mass discourse structure (and other ideas)

Hyska, Megan Alexandra
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This dissertation consists of three free-standing chapters, all of which deal with themes in the philosophy of language in general and in pragmatics in particular.

Chapter 1 augments an existing model of discourse-level information structure in order to articulate relevance conditions that make the right predictions about the class of utterances I call higher order utterances. The apparatus introduced turns out also to have some utility for the representation of a certain kind of discourse defectiveness.

Chapter 2 explores an analogy between communication and knowledge to ultimately advance the thesis that communication is not a uniquely valuable type of signaling event.

Chapter 3 draws connections between propaganda and polarization, and then between the measurement of polarization and the tools used in the modeling of discourse structure. The upshot is that tools from formal pragmatics have an application in the characterization, and perhaps ultimately detection, of propaganda.