Let’s look at the point where you do agree that we differ: You observe that in some works of art, “the mute is brought to speech,” that they “carr[y] more meaning than words can express,” a carved stone “speaks more eloquently than does flesh.” (Clarification: you ren’t saying this happens automatically, in every case of supposed “art” — all these examples are governed by your prefatory “sometimes.”) Yes, that’s just where our paths diverge. I don’t want to concede that the power to move you resides in some quality of the carved stone, the painted canvas, the outstanding artwork. I think that the assumption that the item in question itself moves you or me engenders the misleading impression that there’s a quality of “moving-ness” that we might separate from the cultural settings and conventional modes of expression within which we encounter the work of art. “King’s pawn to King’s Knight 7” may be a powerful move, a blunder, an illegal move, or an unintelligible gesture (as my old Flanders and Swann record said, “because they were playing bridge at the time” — what a joy, to discover that Phil Wolff loves Flanders and Swann too!) depending on the situation, the conventions and expectations that govern that move.
I harp on this point because in my field, people persist in ascribing agency to words and artifacts in ways that mystify a more precise characterization of what’s happening, and in ways that direct attention away from human responsibility for those happenings. When someone says, “The Bible demands that I stone an adulterer to death,” such a person exculpates her- or himself for the blood of the transgressor, rather than acknowledging that a myriad of very pertinent human considerations affect every judgment about what the Bible says. They don’t render the Bible “meaningless” or permit people to cite the Bible as a warrant for just any action — but the constraints on interpretation (I repeat) derive not from inherent qualities of “the work,” but from the patterns of social interaction within which we judge particular interpretations justified and other outlandish.
Or as Cole Porter might have said if he were a technologist-philosopher or -theologian, “You say ‘Heidegger,’ I say ‘Wittgenstein,’ let’s call the whole thing drawn.”