Our panel of 91 professional philosophers has responded to

43
 questions about 
Color
124
 questions about 
Profession
134
 questions about 
Love
218
 questions about 
Education
39
 questions about 
Race
27
 questions about 
Gender
116
 questions about 
Children
36
 questions about 
Literature
77
 questions about 
Emotion
88
 questions about 
Physics
208
 questions about 
Science
69
 questions about 
Business
282
 questions about 
Knowledge
96
 questions about 
Time
81
 questions about 
Identity
285
 questions about 
Language
75
 questions about 
Beauty
24
 questions about 
Suicide
34
 questions about 
Music
70
 questions about 
Truth
75
 questions about 
Perception
2
 questions about 
Action
67
 questions about 
Feminism
31
 questions about 
Space
153
 questions about 
Sex
1275
 questions about 
Ethics
107
 questions about 
Animals
392
 questions about 
Religion
105
 questions about 
Art
88
 questions about 
Law
243
 questions about 
Justice
1
 questions about 
math
110
 questions about 
Biology
573
 questions about 
Philosophy
169
 questions about 
Freedom
68
 questions about 
Happiness
58
 questions about 
Abortion
58
 questions about 
Punishment
283
 questions about 
Mind
32
 questions about 
Sport
54
 questions about 
Medicine
51
 questions about 
War
221
 questions about 
Value
4
 questions about 
Economics
2
 questions about 
Culture
79
 questions about 
Death
23
 questions about 
History
5
 questions about 
Euthanasia
371
 questions about 
Logic
151
 questions about 
Existence

Question of the Day

One needn't know who first coined a word or even how it was originally used for that word to be meaningful, and similarly the fact that the origins of ancient artworks are murky doesn't entail that they are without meaning. The original meaning may be lost, but new meanings are generated, often retaining traces (often more) of earlier meanings. Now, of course, some words are more commonly understood than others, and there are lots of artworks that hold generally shared meanings for people. Sublime landscapes, beautiful portraits, and rousing political artworks support common interpretations galore. So, it seems pretty clear to me that meaning is transmitted and shared through artwork. Sure, when pushed different people generate different shades of meaning and different connotations when asked about how they understand words, but the agreement, facility, and approval with which people share word usage points to shared meanings. And some words are understood only within recondite discourses by small audiences scholars and technicians. So it is with a some artwork, especially the most avant garde and experimental. Poets often twist and strain the meaning of words, which can make shared meaning difficult, but often not impossible to tease out. The meaning of paintings is the product of a conversation between the painter, the audience, and critics, as well as other painters. That meaning can change over time, or not. I might add that I think, just as it is with words, it's not exactly right to speak of a single meaning for an artwork. One remarkable property of good art, like powerful language, is how fecund it is, how much meaning and different meanings it generates.