A concept is an abstraction or generalization from experience or the result of a transformation of existing ideas. The 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 treated in many if not most disciplines both explicitly, such as in psychology, philosophy, etc., and implicitly, such as in mathematics, physics, etc.
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:[See talk page]
- Concepts as mental representations, where concepts are entities that exist in the brain,
- Concepts as abilities, where concepts are abilities peculiar to cognitive agents, and
- Concepts as abstract objects, where objects are the constituents of propositions that mediate between thought, language, and referents.
There are many things that cannot even be conceived of by human minds, and thus are not Concepts, even if they do exist. There are also things that human beings can conceive that are fictions, and thus do not exist, but are Concepts. If your mind is not capable of grasping a concept, and your species does not have Instant Concept Transmission (a form of Telepathy), then you will have to deal with Lesser concepts until you are ready to fully grasp the main concept, which eludes you completely.
A Concept that is coded into your mind long before your had the opportunity (or sometimes even ability) to grasp it fully, is called a Precept, and results from Culture Coding at a point called an Incept.
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