Truth is a quality of assertions, not of that about which assertions are made. But the fact that an assertion can have degrees of truth with respect to reality is important. I believe this is what is meant when people insist that “there is a truth”: there is a reality about which true or untrue things can be said.
However, I am a pluralist, and this complicates things. Worse, it is a metaphysical pluralism. This means that I believe in a reality about which true or false things can be said, but that this reality is not reducible to any truth or any number of truths. No matter how many true things are known about even the simplest realities, the truth of that reality is not exhausted. More true things remain to be said.
Further, as truth is something that belongs to assertions we make, we can only assert the truths we know how to assert. What we know how to assert is limited by the conceptualizations we have at our disposal. Concepts are thought-making thoughts, used both for making realities intelligible and for making assertions made about realities intelligible. Understanding realities and understanding what others say about realities* is limited by the concepts we know how to use.
An average quantum physicist could tell Aristotle myriad new truths about a rock, but before Aristotle could understand these truths he would need several decades of conceptual infrastructure removed and several centuries of conceptual infrastructure bestowed. With this conceptual infrastructure he would grasp the truths of the rock and of the physicist*.
The most unnerving thing about concepts is that until we know how to use it to understand realities, it is inconceivable. An inconceivable concept does not exist to us, until suddenly it does exist. And each time we acquire use of a new concept (perhaps in an effort to grasp some particular fact), the new concept provides us new understandings about myriad other realities, and maybe about reality itself, as a whole.
The best indication we have that something inconceivable exist to be understood is that someone tells us that it exists. But this is a strange faith, and a faith that rests on a foundation of another strange faith — that new truths can irrupt into our souls and change everything, all at once, in inconceivable ways. The entirety of existence can, at any moment, undergo a transfiguration that, prior to the new conception, is literally, technically inconceivable, instantly populating the world with new truths, new kinds of beings.
Mine is a metaphysic of profound and inexhaustible surprise.
* To understand a person, to know the truth of who someone is, we must understand the truths of the person. Both are inexhaustible. We can never finally know another person. The best we can do is to want to know and to want to keep knowing forever.
This desire transfigures what could be taken as epistemological futility into an inexhaustible supply of new, surprising and sometimes disturbing things to learn.
File under “New Ways to Think about Love”.
Or file under “TL;DR”.