Today we encountered two philosophers of science who presented competing views of how we should understand the successes of science. Bas van Fraassen argued for 'instrumentalism', the view that science is best understood as a tool for arranging our observations of things - but not as anything making a claim about the truth.
In Larry Laudan, we encountered the 'pessimistic metainduction'. Laudan argues that truth (or referring to real things) is not necessary for scientific success. Indeed, many, many past theories were not true (and did not refer to real things) and yet they were very successful. Our contemporary theories are successful - but that does not give us any reason to think they are true.