Concept vs. Idea

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Concept and Idea is that the Concept is a mental representation or an abstract object or an ability and Idea is a mental image or concept.

  • Concept

    Concepts are the fundamental building blocks of our thoughts and beliefs. They play an important role in all aspects of cognition.

    Concepts arise as abstractions or generalisations from experience; from the result of a transformation of existing ideas; or from innate properties. A concept is instantiated (reified) by all of its actual or potential instances, whether these are things in the real world or other ideas.

    Concepts are studied as components of human cognition in the cognitive science disciplines of linguistics, psychology and philosophy, where an ongoing debate asks whether all cognition must occur through concepts. Concepts are used as formal tools or models in mathematics, computer science, databases and artificial intelligence where they are sometimes called classes, schema or categories. In informal use the word concept often just means any idea.

    In metaphysics, and especially ontology, a concept is a fundamental category of existence. In contemporary philosophy, there are at least three prevailing ways to understand what a concept is:

    Concepts as mental representations, where concepts are entities that exist in the mind (mental objects)

    Concepts as abilities, where concepts are abilities peculiar to cognitive agents (mental states)

    Concepts as Fregean senses (see sense and reference), where concepts are abstract objects, as opposed to mental objects and mental states

    Concepts can be organized into a hierarchy, higher levels of which are termed “superordinate” and lower levels termed “subordinate”. Additionally, there is the “basic” or “middle” level at which people will most readily categorize a concept. For example, a basic-level concept would be “chair”, with its superordinate, “furniture”, and its subordinate, “easy chair”.

  • Idea

    In philosophy, ideas are usually construed as mental representational images of some object. Ideas can also be abstract concepts that do not present as mental images. Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being. The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflexive, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place. A new or original idea can often lead to innovation..

  • Concept (noun)

    abstract and general idea; an abstraction

  • Concept (noun)

    understanding retained in the mind, from experience, reasoning and/or imagination; a generalization (generic, basic form), or abstraction (mental impression), of a particular set of instances or occurrences (specific, though different, recorded manifestations of the concept).

  • Concept (noun)

    In generic programming, a description of supported operations on a type, including their syntax and semantics.

  • Idea (noun)

    An abstract archetype of a given thing, compared to which real-life examples are seen as imperfect approximations; pure essence, as opposed to actual examples. from 14th c.

  • Idea (noun)

    The conception of someone or something as representing a perfect example; an ideal. 16th-19th c.

  • Idea (noun)

    The form or shape of something; a quintessential aspect or characteristic. 16th-18th c.

  • Idea (noun)

    An image of an object that is formed in the mind or recalled by the memory. from 16th c.

    “The mere idea of you is enough to excite me.”

  • Idea (noun)

    More generally, any result of mental activity; a thought, a notion; a way of thinking. from 17th c.

  • Idea (noun)

    A conception in the mind of something to be done; a plan for doing something, an intention. from 17th c.

    “I have an idea of how we might escape.”

  • Idea (noun)

    A purposeful aim or goal; intent

    “If you keep sweet-talking her like that, you’re going to talk her right out of her pants.”

  • Idea (noun)

    A vague or fanciful notion; a feeling or hunch; an impression. from 17th c.

    “He had the wild idea that if he leant forward a little, he might be able to touch the mountain-top.”

  • Idea (noun)

    A musical theme or melodic subject. from 18th c.

  • Concept (noun)

    an abstract idea

    “structuralism is a difficult concept”

    “the concept of justice”

  • Concept (noun)

    a plan or intention

    “the centre has kept firmly to its original concept”

  • Concept (noun)

    an idea or invention to help sell or publicize a commodity

    “a new concept in corporate hospitality”

  • Concept (noun)

    (of a car or other vehicle) produced as an experimental model to test the viability of innovative design features

    “a concept car for next month’s Geneva motor show”

  • Concept (noun)

    an idea or mental image which corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities, or to its essential features, or determines the application of a term (especially a predicate), and thus plays a part in the use of reason or language.

  • Idea (noun)

    a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action

    “recently, the idea of linking pay to performance has caught on”

    “it’s a good idea to do some research before you go”

  • Idea (noun)

    a mental impression

    “our menu list will give you some idea of how interesting a low-fat diet can be”

  • Idea (noun)

    an opinion or belief

    “nineteenth-century ideas about drinking”

  • Idea (noun)

    the aim or purpose

    “I took a job with the idea of getting some money together”

  • Idea (noun)

    (in Platonic thought) an eternally existing pattern of which individual things in any class are imperfect copies.

  • Idea (noun)

    (in Kantian thought) a concept of pure reason, not empirically based in experience.

Oxford Dictionary

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