This essay explores the philosophical significance of Anthony Burgess’s 1960s novel "A Clockwork Orange." Specific themes in this novel are developed through character and situation, in a way which takes cognisance of important problems in the history of philosophy. The essay looks at two particular themes in this context. The first relates to the epistemological question of the distinction between truth and illusion. The novel thematizes the demarcation between truth and illusion, or truth and appearance, and raises the issue of whether we can have a knowledge or epistemological foundation for such a distinction. Second, the novel addresses a question at the heart of ethics, that is, the issue of whether there is a clear distinction between good and evil. Moreover, it develops this question in relation to the further issue of the explanation for the seeming attractiveness of evil, if good is an acknowledged superior value. In the novel these questions are addressed especially through the main character of Alex, whose incarceration and rehabilitation treatment by psychiatry comes centre stage. Additionally, the text itself is adapted for film by Stanley Kubrick in 1971 and the essay explores how Kubrick’s interpretation of the original novel is distinct from that of Burgess (this difference being added to by the medium of film). Kubrick’s different interpretation nonetheless builds on the original novel and thus brings new insights in terms of the reading of the primary themes, while also complexifying the hermeneutics.
Keywords Science Fiction  Anthony Burgess  Clockwork Orange  Stanley Kubrick  Nihilism  Good and Evil  Aversion Therapy  Beethoven
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An Introduction to Plato's Republic.Julia Annas - 1981 - Oxford University Press.

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