Definitions | Etymology | repetitive expression | repeated ideas | Examples | Skills | Essays | Contrasts | Links



"A general idea derived or inferred from specific experiences, instances, or occurrences."

Some examples of critical concepts


[Late Latin {LL} conceptus, past participle of concipere, to conceive; from Latin com + capere, to take.]

Related words:


  1. formation of a viable zygote (egg and sperm cells after fertilization)
  2. the ability to form or understand abstraction, or mental constructs
  3. a beginning or start (archaic)


  1. to form or hold an idea
  2. to become pregnant with child
  3. devise
  4. to apprehend in the mind, mentally understand
  5. originate in a specific manner, way, shape or form

American Heritage College Dictionary, (2002), p. 296.

Repetitive expression

The frequent reference to a particular, or related concepts, may indicate the themes, or thematic coherence of an author's, artists, or musician's expression.

Related ideas

• repetitions

In the definitions above there is a clear repetition of the relation in Latin of a mental product and the birth of a child. The relation is indistinguishable when the word conception, for example, is taken out of context.

• reflections

Conceptualize, or conceptualization is the process by which symbolic representations, ideas, or messages are created and given meaning by an imaginative and a deliberative process of thinking.



The concept of biosphere

“Science of the Global Environment”

“...this powerful cosmic force. The radiations that pour upon the Earth cause the biosphere to take on properties unknown to lifeless planetary surfaces, and thus transform the face of the Earth.”

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, Biosfera, 1926.

“The totality of life, known as the biosphere to scientists and creation to theologians, is a membrane of organisms wrapped around the earth so thin...yet so internally complex that most species comprising it remain undiscovered.”

p. 3. Wilson, The Future of Life, 2002.

Using concepts:

Essay parts -- Background -- Information -- Argument -- Conclusion

Information is used to bring to light, expose, or explain a significant concept, usually done in a written piece of work called an essay. Concepts when put together in a general way can be thought of as a theme.

Essay -- a focused piece of written expression, shorter than a story.

Every beginning writer should form an essay that is composed of three or four parts:

Argument, or explication


Introduction, A brief description of what you will do and why.

Who, What, When Where, How, and maybe why this is a subject with a coherent theme.

Every formal essay should have a thesis that encompasses what the writing is about.


The Body

Here is where you inform readers about recent evidence, the historic development of the ideas and concepts you are interested in and the themes that support your thesis.

Definitions: What is it, who is it and how did it happen? Background detail needed.
Dates: i.e. 1926 to 1960: were the critical 34 years in the development of biosphere, ecosystem, & genetics that lead to a new conception of the human place in nature.
Data: Explain related concepts of nature, radiation, ecology and biological thought.

Argument, what is the importance of what you are writing?

How does your research and writing show that previous information is either supported by, slightly revised or totally altered due to new evidence?

If this is more of a descriptive paper, the section is really a more, in depth "explication or exposition of what you are writing about. That means what are you saying? What have people said on this subject before you and how would you describe the places where you:

converge with,
diverge from

other authors?

What are the distinguishing features of your discoveries?

Conclusion, Summarize the who, what, when, where, or how of the piece. Refer to the main themes and how these concepts support or qualify your thesis.

Concept is defined as a construction of the mind as opposed to perception from percept, which is the object of perception or the mental impression of the appearances, or some facets of the thing perceived by our senses.


Mental, create and perceive


concept percept
to give birth, engender
to appreciate, discern
goodness, evil
spaciousness, darken

ORIGIN (etymology)

precept: Latin praeceptum, [neuter past participle of praecipere] ‘warn, instruct,’ from prae ‘before’ + capere ‘take.'

perception: Latin perceptio(n-), from the verb percipere ‘seize, understand’

Capere or "cept" is in each of the words: accept, concept, precept, perception and suggests that taking meant to in speakers and their descendents a sensory as well as a manual grasping of things.

"Prehendere" to lay hold as a synonymous root word of "Capere" to grasp:

hands holding the earthApprehend, ORIGIN late Middle English (originally in the sense [grasp, get hold of (physically or mentally)] ): from French appréhender or Latin apprehendere, from ad- ‘toward’ + prehendere ‘lay hold of.’

Comprehend, ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French comprehender, or Latin comprehendere, from com- ‘together’ + prehendere ‘grasp.'

Reprehend, ORIGIN Middle English : from Latin reprehendere ‘seize, check, rebuke,’ from re- (expressing intensive force) + prehendere ‘seize.’


word webs


The surrounding themes, ideas, or expressions that either give meaning to a word, or critical thought

  1. by contrast with
  2. or supporting evidence for

the concept.

Some critical concepts that by contrast reinforce and define one another:


Real vs. Ideal ---

This dialectic sent the medieval thinkers into unending debate between what actually existed: A) the class of things or B) the specific thing a concept (word or phrase) represented.

Existence vs. Essence ---

argued by Sarte and Camus that one concept, our experience of existence preceded the other the idea of our being aware of our essence, or essential differences. Plato argued in an opposite way that essences are all that persist because we fool ourselves in believing false impressions of reality.

Fact vs. Fiction ---

not as distinct as you might believe, but one is derived from the other!

Idea vs. Image

Sir Francis Bacon suggested that humans were flawed, we perceive the world with a bias, he though because we are submissive to four follies or idols.


The role of and skills required for a linguistic sleuth, investigating the boundaries between concepts and percepts are:

The role of an inquiry about Concepts, conceptions & conceptualization include some or all of the following:

The skills required

Writing papers is a means of assessing how well you understand, use and link concepts to one another.

Outlines assist some writers in limiting what they will discuss in relation to a thesis or thematic concept; others employ concept maps or an arranging of concepts with respect to their logical relationship in a diagram.

Verbal presentations are a means to demonstrate how well one may "think on their feet," or express in continuous, rhythmic and precise means the content of their thoughtful concepts.

A dialogue is necessary for people to learn from one another. Concepts that cannot be transmitted, or articulated to others are by definition (inarticulate) "autistic concepts."

Definitions | Etymology | repetitive expression | repeated ideas | Examples | Skills | Essays | Contrasts

world view | ideal versus real | images | descriptions | site analysis


Last Updated on 12/25/2006.

By Joseph Siry

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