Contextualism

Discipline: Philosophy

Any view that sees some phenomenon as relative to a context, or insists on the relevance of context for interpretation.

In aesthetics, the doctrine that works of art can be appreciated only by reference to their context, circumstances of production, artist's intuitions, and so on.

In ethics, the view that values are instrumental (that is, relative to certain ends); and the view that moral problems only arise - and can only be solved - against a background of principles which themselves can only be assessed by taking some further principles for granted for the moment.

In philosophy of science, the doctrine that theoretical terms can only have contextual meaning; that is meaning which they get by playing a role in a deductive system with empirically testable consequences.

Also see: ISOLATIONISM

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