Science

Difference Between Concept and Theory

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Main Difference

The main difference between Concept and Theory is that Concept is just a vague idea about something, whereas Theory is an idea that has been tested and proved.

Concept vs. Theory

The concept is a vague idea about something; on the other hand, a theory is a perception or idea that has been tested and proved. The concept is a collection of ideas to explain a specific proposition, whereas theory is a collection of ideas, facts, or events to explain a single proposition. A concept is merely an idea and does not need an explanation. On the contrary, the theory needs a proper explanation to prove itself.

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As the concept is not proven by facts, it can easily be altered or changed, but a theory cannot be easily be changed as it must be proved wrong to alter it. A concept is a general idea about something, whereas a theory is evidence supported by proper proof. There is no need to test a concept; on the other hand, the theory needs to be tested and proved.

A concept does not need to be organized, whereas a theory is organized properly. A concept may be a mental representation, or an abstract idea on the opposite theory is an abstract idea. A concept does not need evidence to back it up, whereas theory is entirely dependent on evidence.

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A concept can be a collection of scattered ideas on the flip side; theory must be compact and present a single idea. A concept can also be termed as a plan, whereas theory is something well constructed.

Comparison Chart

ConceptTheory
A concept is a vague idea about somethingA Theory is an idea that has been tested and proved
Alteration
Can easily be alteredIt cannot be altered until proven wrong
Organization
Not necessarily organizedShould be properly organized
Representation
May represent many ideasRepresents a single idea
Evidence
Does not require evidenceRequires evidence
Testing
Does not need testingNeeds testing
Idea
Collection of ideasSingle compact idea
Other Term
Can be called a planIt can be called as meaningful and precise
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What is the Concept?

The concept is defined as ideas or perceptions that occur in our brains and thoughts. Behind every thought and belief, there is a concept. The concept plays a significant role in the intellect of an individual. The concept is the building blocks of the things that we see around us. The concept is studied through fields like linguistics, psychology, sociology, and philosophy. These subjects also shape up one’s concept.

Concepts are mental representations. They determine the way how we behave. These are the several thought patterns in our minds that make us behave distinctly with other people. They include behaviors such as thinking, wondering, accepting, denying, etc. There is a proper subject studying how concepts serve as a forerunner of interdisciplinary approaches.

The concept is of two categories; they are either mental representations or abstract, i.e., shown to the others. This is a sense and reference relationship. The mental concept is something that exists in a person’s mind and cannot be shown to the others, whereas abstract concepts can be shown. For example, if I say ‘apple,’ the image that arises in the receiver’s mind might be different from the image that I have. Similarly, if I say ‘apple’ and I show an apple, this would be an abstract concept as it can be seen and touched.

Concepts are of three categories superordinate, which are of higher level and subordinate, which are of a lower level. For example, ‘mango tree’ is a superordinate or higher concept, and ‘tree’ is the basic concept called subordinate.

What is Theory?

The theory is defined as an idea that is proved to be true. The theory is something that had been proved through experimentation and is above the level of concept. It is based upon rational and abstract thinking. The theory is formed after a series of steps such as observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and deduction.

According to the scientific definition of theory, it is a well-confirmed kind of explanation about anything which fulfills specific scientific criteria. Theory must be strong enough that every experiment gives the expected and correct results. The theory at a higher level forms a law. Every theory gives something new it explains the experiences of people that they had never done before. A theory is a source of knowledge and helps in reaching certain goals. Based on theories given by others, new theories are developed.

The word theory has been derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “looking at or viewing.” This word was used to refer to the knowledge about natural things and natural philosophies. English speakers used this term since the 16th century; they referred to theory as a rational explanation of general things.

A theory can also be called a collection of interconnected ideas that intend to explain something. Primarily these ideas are based on assumptions. Then these assumptions are tested to form a hypothesis. The greatest example of the theory is Darwin’s theory of the origin of species. If a theory suggests something that does not exist or predicts something that is impossible to happen, then it is a false theory.

Key Differences

  1. The concept is a vague idea about something; on the other hand, a theory is a perception or idea that has been tested and proved.
  2. The concept is a collection of ideas to explain a specific proposition, and the opposing theory is a collection of ideas, facts, or events to explain a single proposition.
  3. A concept is merely an idea and does not need an explanation; on the contrary, the theory needs a proper explanation to prove itself.
  4. As the concept is not proven by facts, it can easily be altered or changed, but a theory cannot be easily be changed as it must be proved wrong to alter it.
  5. A concept is a general idea about something, whereas a theory is evidence supported by proper proof.
  6. There is no need to test a concept; on the other hand, the theory needs to be tested and proved.
  7. A concept does not need to be organized; conversely, a theory is organized in a proper way.
  8. A concept may be a mental representation or an abstract idea; on the opposite, a theory is an abstract idea.
  9. A concept does not need evidence to back it up; on the flip side, and theory is completely dependent on evidence.
  10. A concept can be a collection of scattered ideas; conversely, a theory must be compact and present a single idea.

Conclusion

So, a concept is a vague idea about something which does not need to be proven, whereas theory is a compact idea that has been tested and proven.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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