Contextualism, usage (1) in architecture. Queries the various relationships of the built object to its context, where context includes the natural and urban environment, the sociocultural factors impinging on the object (and its impinging on them). One a more stringent definition, ’contextualist’ architecture denies that it is possible to individuate the built object in isolation from its ’context’ thus construed. – Contextualism, usage (2) in philosophy. Positions which argue that the application of certain concepts like ’tall’ and ’knows’ are determined by contextual features. An animal may be tall for a mouse, but still small compared to an elephant; a person may be said to know what she asserts in one context of epistemic appraisal but not another, depending how ’high’ the practical stakes are.
In architecture, Kenneth Frampton’s critical regionalism attempts to combat the placelessness often associated with 21st century architecture. Yet, the theory does not account for many social and cultural phenomena of place and fittingness that architecture can respond to.
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