Essay on Rorty 1984 Truth

1414 Words Apr 17th, 2011 6 Pages
Rorty’s interpretation of the underlying messages of Nineteen Eighty-Four is, to a large extent, consistent with his views on truth and objectivity. “It does not matter whether 'two plus two is four' is true, much less whether this truth is 'subjective' or 'corresponds to external reality'” (CIS, 176). What Rorty means by this is that it does not matter what one’s beliefs are, or whether those beliefs are true or not… What defines a free society is that people are able to voice their beliefs and opinions without being scared about any repercussions. Winston wrote, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows” (1984, 69). It can be …show more content…
Winston could remember a time when the Party did not rule, when Big Brother had not become all-powerful; but according to the Party they had always existed and this lie was repeated enough number of times until it ‘became’ the truth. Winston’s own job was, under the Ministry of Truth, to alter the documents from the past to make them consistent with what the Party was saying in the present. The concept of ‘Newspeak’ resonates strongly with Rorty’s views and the importance he gives to one’s vocabulary. The Party’s belief that if they eradicate certain words from the dictionary and people’s spoken language, then they will not be able to express the concepts associated with those words; is something that Rorty has talked about in his book. As Winston realizes, by the creation of Newspeak, it is not just language that is being destroyed, the attempt is to annihilate consciousness and thought itself. Once Newspeak has taken over completely, ‘thought crimes’ will be impossible, because there will be no language to express rebellious thoughts in. The reason Orwell is likely to have chosen to use two plus two is four as a ‘truth’ that the Party refuses is that it is one of the basic questions “the truth or falsity of which can easily be assessed by an individual on her own” (Conant, 96). This is probably why Winston realizes early on that given the inexorable nature of the Party’s project, sooner

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