What is theory?

  • (noun): A belief that can guide behavior.
    Example: "The architect has a theory that more is less"; "they killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales"
    See also — Additional definitions below


Theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. Depending on the context, the results might for example include generalized explanations of how nature works, or even how divine or metaphysical matters are thought to work. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several different related meanings.

Read more about Theory.

Some articles on theory:

Feudalism - Etymology
... The most widely held theory is put forth by Marc Bloch ... This Germanic origin theory was also shared by William Stubbs in the nineteenth century ... Another theory was put forward by Archibald R ...
... Minimax (sometimes minmax) is a decision rule used in decision theory, game theory, statistics and philosophy for minimizing the possible loss for a worst case (maximum loss) scenario ... Originally formulated for two-player zero-sum game theory, covering both the cases where players take alternate moves and those where they make simultaneous moves, it has also been extended to more ...
Zermelo Set Theory
... Zermelo set theory, as set out in an important paper in 1908 by Ernst Zermelo, is the ancestor of modern set theory ...
Falsifiability - The Criterion of Demarcation
... It is useful to know if a statement or theory is falsifiable, if for no other reason than that it provides us with an understanding of the ways in which one might assess the ... One might at the least be saved from attempting to falsify a non-falsifiable theory, or come to see an unfalsifiable theory as unsupportable ... Popper claimed that, if a theory is falsifiable, then it is scientific ...
J. Philippe Rushton - Work and Opinions - Application of r/K Selection Theory To Race
... Race, Evolution, and Behavior (1995) uses r/K selection theory to explain how East Asians consistently average high, blacks low, and whites in the middle on an evolutionary scale of characteristics indicative ... He first published this theory in 1984 ... He theorizes that r/K selection theory explains these differences ...

More definitions of "theory":

  • (noun): A tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena.
    Example: "A scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"
    Synonyms: hypothesis, possibility
  • (noun): A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena.
    Example: "Theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"

Famous quotes containing the word theory:

    The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)