Our panel of 91 professional philosophers has responded to

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

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.