What is true?

It’s a question at the center of American life today. It dominates our politics in this election year, of course – but it also reverberates across law, education and, especially, scientific inquiry.

The Conversation, in collaboration with WBUR and NPR’s live national talk show On Point, will spend four days exploring the nature of truth. The first in the series airs today.

To start the conversation, Joel Christensen, an associate professor of classics at Brandeis University, takes us back to ancient Greece where the western notion of truth as “eternal and immutable” but also “unknowable to human beings” originated. Interestingly, the treatment of truth in Greek myth can help us understand modern research in cognitive science and the nature of human memory.

Also today:

Top story

Understandings of truth may be found in the Muses’ words. Jacopo Tintoretto's The Muses/Wikpedia

The ancient Greeks had alternative facts too – they were just more chill about it

Joel Christensen, Brandeis University

Is making sense of a story more important than getting at its truth? Looking at the treatment of myth in ancient Greece may help us navigate what is true, and whether that matters.

Politics + Society

Economy + Business

Ethics + Religion

Environment + Energy

Health + Medicine


Arts + Culture

Most read on site

Today’s quote

"Even beginning to explain why disparities exist – much less reducing and eliminating them – is challenging, because basic science research studies are not including African Americans enough."


Blacks are at higher risk for Alzheimer's, but why?


Renã A.S. Robinson

Vanderbilt University

Renã A.S. Robinson

Help fight misinformation and science denial. Support The Conversation.