Meaning of Theory

What is Theory:

Theory is a term that comes from the Greek theoria which in the historical context meant observing, contemplating or studying and referred to rather speculative thinking.

In its evolution, the term came to designate the set of basic ideas of a certain topic, which seeks to convey a general vision of some aspects of reality. It is made up of a set of hypotheses.

There are two categories of ideas that can lead to theories:

  • conjecture: if an assumption is not supported by observations,
  • hypothesis: supported by testable observations. Despite this, a hypothesis may turn out to be false. When this occurs, the hypothesis must be modified to suit the observation, or it must be discarded.

See also:

  • Praxis.
  • Hypothesis.

In science, a set of descriptions of knowledge is called a theory only when it has a firm empirical basis.

A scientific theory is the speculative part of a science, as opposed to practice. It is a consistent system made up of observations, ideas and axioms or postulates, and all of this constitutes a set that tries to explain certain phenomena. Examples of scientific theories are:

  • Chaos theory,
  • Communication theory
  • Theory of knowledge
  • Theory of evolution
  • Game theory
  • Theory of relativity
  • Theory of quantum physics

Theories exist not only in the natural sciences and the exact sciences, but in all fields of academic study, from philosophy to literature to social science.

In many circumstances, the theory is seen as a model of reality. A theory has to be somehow verifiable. Many scientists argue that religious beliefs are not verifiable and, therefore, are not theories but matters of faith.

See also Theoretical framework.

Popularly, theory is a word that is used to refer to a set of abstract ideas to explain an event, it even allows making predictions of that event. It is also used to describe something difficult to achieve in practice, for example, "Your ideas to improve the situation in the country are pure theory."

The "theoretical term" or "in theory" is used to indicate the difference between the data obtained from the model with respect to the observable phenomena in the experience or experiment of reality. It often indicates that a particular outcome has been predicted by theory but has not yet been observed.

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