Human understanding has enabled us to achieve many things once thought impossible, and we assume our theories are successful because they uncover the true character of reality.  But critics argue there is a danger this is an illusion. Theories they contend are effective because they provide a framework to make sense of the world but they do not describe reality, nor do we have a credible account of how any theory could in principle describe reality. The theories of science are all open to revision because they are models rather than descriptions of an ultimate reality.  

Should we give up the notion that our theories are true descriptions of the world? Should we assume that there are an indefinite number of alternative accounts that might prove more effective? Or is truth a necessary goal of our accounts of the world without which we would be impossibly lost in a welter of competing narratives?

Cutting-edge philosopher of physics Tim Maudlin, leading theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, insightful interdisciplinary thinker Abby Innes, and dark-matter physicist Bernard Carr, lock horns over whether theories are true or just our best guesses.

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