This post looks at some of the recent work of Scott Soames arguing against the idea that propositions contain their own meaning inherently. "Sentences in use, you might say are 'inherently representational': but the whole idea of inherence doesn't really fit here. The whole point is that sentences are not inherently representational, but used in certain ways, they are." The idea is that use creates context, and the sentence content plus context creates meaning. "A representation itself is just a concrete thing - like a drawing or a sentence. And it represents not inherently, but by being used in a certain way. People represent things as being certain ways by putting representations to use." Which to me sounds a lot like Wittgenstein, and makes a lot of sense. This - again - shows why learning requires use, and not just presenting. Image: David Baruch, non-representational art.