The thesis presents and discusses James Conant's and Richard Rorty's competing views on truth and objectivity in the context of their respective interpretations of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four".
I attempt to meet a number of objections against Rorty in order to substantiate and lend credibility to his position. Charges that Rorty's position promotes, e.g., cultural relativism, reductive scientism and general intellectual irresponsibility are met by arguing that the charges themselves presuppose an unfortunate notion of representation, a notion the perceived necessity of which it is a central aim of the thesis to undermine.
This, in turn, is done by attempting to show how the notion of representation gains its air of necessity not from its self-evident truth but rather from a contingent historical process - in short, it is a product of Enlightenment ideas - and how Rorty's antirepresentationalism fits in better with a Darwinian story of human beings.
On this view, the notion of representation is seen not only as lacking explanatory force, but as promoting an unfortunate authoritarianism by "fostering the regulative idea of a chief vocabulary" (Ramberg), and as such should be dispelled.