Most of us assume reality is made up of physical matter. In line with this scientists have built ever larger machines to identify the ultimate particles. Instead of getting closer to the most elementary bits in the universe, the particle zoo has got ever more complex and seemingly less like material stuff at all.  Is there a danger that the very idea of an ultimate foundation to reality is a profound mistake? Some have proposed that instead of material the ultimate foundation is to be found in consciousness, information, or even mathematics.  But such proposals are no closer to identifying ultimate elements than particle physicists.  

Should we give up the attempt to uncover an ultimate foundation to the universe? Is our inability to find an ultimate foundation a limitation of language, or of our capacity to make sense of the world, or is it to do with the nature of reality itself? Or is it just possible that if we hold in there, one day we will crack the ultimate puzzle?   

Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman, longstanding critic of realism Hilary Lawson, and leading physicist Priya Natarajan, lock horns over the foundations of reality.

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