Rorty 1984 Truth

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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 seen why he thinks this is true by noticing that it encompasses the three necessities to freedom - the freedom to think the truth, to speak the truth, and to act on the truth. This can be linked to Rorty. Rorty believes that if a society is granted freedom of speech, “truth can take care of itself” (CIS, 176). What Rorty means by this is that in a society where everyone has the ability to say what they think and others give them a fair chance, it will lead to conversations that will make people question their final vocabularies, making them ironists as well as ultimately resulting in ‘truth’ as defined for them.

The definition of truth for those who lived in Oceania is quite different from our definition. The Party obliterated their memories, lies were turned into truths and the past was altered. “Whatever the party holds to be the truth is the truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party” writes Winston (1984, 205).

The Party slogan was “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” This was where ‘doublethink’ came into play, minds were trained to hold contradictory positions simultaneously and...
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