Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The thesis defended in this dissertation is that there is an objective, assertoric validity condition, or rationality constraint, on journalistic news judgments about reports that refer to events or states of affairs.;The dissertation locates such judgments in a Habermasian context of communicative action in which they are seen as making a unique, objective validity claim through the illocutionary force of published news narratives.;It is argued that neither truth of the information content of reports judged to be newsworthy, nor alleged qualities of the events reported, nor journalistic conventions can establish the validity of news judgments.;Using concepts from the mathematical theory of information along lines suggested by Dretske, a "core concept of news" is developed. The assertoric validity of a news judgment is then accounted for in terms of a "pragmatic information measure" which, adapting arguments from Salmon, applies the frequentist concept of probability to single events in the determination of their objective surprisal value. Validity of a news judgment proper is then defined in terms of this core concept of news and the pragmatic information measure.



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