What is theory?

  • (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"
    See also — Additional definitions below

Theory

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:

Minimax
... 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
J. Philippe Rushton - Work and Opinions - Application of r/K Selection Theory To Race
... 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 of nurturing ... He first published this theory in 1984 ... He theorizes that r/K selection theory explains these differences ...
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 theory ... 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 ...

More definitions of "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"
  • (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

Famous quotes containing the word theory:

    A theory if you hold it hard enough
    And long enough gets rated as a creed....
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

    No one thinks anything silly is suitable when they are an adolescent. Such an enormous share of their own behavior is silly that they lose all proper perspective on silliness, like a baker who is nauseated by the sight of his own eclairs. This provides another good argument for the emerging theory that the best use of cryogenics is to freeze all human beings when they are between the ages of twelve and nineteen.
    Anna Quindlen (20th century)

    Don’t confuse hypothesis and theory. The former is a possible explanation; the latter, the correct one. The establishment of theory is the very purpose of science.
    Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)