In the course of research on the essence of meaning, different concepts appear as theoretical derivatives of the intuitive notion of meaning, depending on which of the key determinants of meaning (reference, inference, or context) dominate the respective line of study. On the basis of underlying specific philosophical aspects of alternative conceptual apparatuses gravitating to the relevant determinants, various competing and arguing philosophical schools (“-isms”) emerge, e. g. referentialism, inferentialism, contextualism. While the development of the first two starts from a certain determinant and ends with corresponding “-ism”, the third, contextualism, has followed another model the context itself as a general determining category is left in the background. The question is still waiting to be seriously dealt with, as to what sort of needs the non-linguistic use of the notion of context meets, and what characteristics of context, as a linguistic category, justifiably spread into other areas. Here an attempt is made to draw attention to several basic properties of context and to its potential and prospectives of functioning as a general logical and philosophical category.
Context, Contextualism, Determinants of meaning, Inferentialism, Meaning, Referentialism