Propaganda and Art: A Philosophical Analysis

Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison (1999)

Sheryl Tuttle Ross
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Examples of propaganda abound in contemporary society. Even though propaganda is increasingly prevalent in modern society, this phenomenon has received scant philosophical attention. This is particularly true of philosophy of art even as art, from posters and murals to films and novels, has been instrumental in the dissemination of propaganda. My dissertation develops a new model of propaganda to account for the phenomenon of art propaganda. I call this model the epistemic merit model, because I argue that propaganda essentially lacks epistemic merit. ;My project proceeds in four parts: offer a diagnosis of why propaganda has virtually escaped philosophical scrutiny, survey the field of propaganda studies in the disciplines of sociology, social psychology, and communication theory, perform a conceptual analysis of propaganda, and show how my new model is particularly well-suited to cases of art propaganda
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