Truth and freedom in orwell's nineteen eighty-four

Philosophy and Literature 34 (2):381-393 (2010)
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The hero of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four defends a seemingly modest claim: "There was truth and there was untruth."1 It may be incoherent to deny this, but, as the novel shows, those who set no store in truth will not be browbeaten by contradictions. Orwell's last novel reflects his conviction that a commitment to "objective truth" was fast disappearing from the world—a prospect that troubled him more than bombs.2 Truth meant little in this "age of lies" and was neither the aim nor horizon of intellectual debate (CW, 17, p. 11). Standards of rationality were opportunistically enlisted and jettisoned in the service of particular ends. Politics, he concluded, was "a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and ..



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