Concept, construct and conceptual systems by Mjavad Sabet


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Concept, construct and conceptual systems by Mjavad Sabet

  1. 1. Concept, Construct and Conceptual System<br />Entrepreneurship Faculty, University of Tehran, Iran<br />Mohammad JavadSabet<br />Assistant Prof: Dr.Arabiun<br />
  2. 2. Concept, Construct and Conceptual System<br />6/6/2010<br />
  3. 3. Concept<br />6/6/2010<br />Confronted by this array of complex, dynamic, unique, and mostly obscured phenomena called reality, how do individuals manage to make sense out of this world?<br />They do so, almost automatically and usually unconsciously, by conceptualizing—that is, by using their mental processes to consider and sort their experiences in terms of the concepts they have acquired and stored in memory. <br />They also develop new concepts to describe things they had never previously experienced. <br />Just as concepts are the fundamental building blocks of everyday thinking, they also are the fundamental building blocks of scientific thinking.<br />
  4. 4. Concept<br />According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word concept refers to something that is conceived of in the mind. <br />It is a generic idea or thought, usually developed from experiencing one or more particular instances. Examples of concepts include shirt, book, dripping, chair, mother, ice cream, advertising, smashed, home, vacation, memory, love, prejudice, attitude, and expectations. <br />As you can see, concepts refer to things that are tangible and denotable (e.g., shirts) as well as to things that are not as concrete and directly seen (e.g., memory).<br />Concepts are the building blocks for all thinking. In fact, without concepts, thought as we know it would be impossible. It is our concepts that enable us to achieve some basic understanding of the world.<br />The most basic level of understanding can be termed identification. We understand something, in part, when we can identify it. When experiencing the world about us, we use the concepts we have in mind to identify and classify our experiences: This is an ice cream cone; that is a shirt.<br />6/6/2010<br />
  5. 5. The Nature of Concepts<br />Concepts are generalized abstractions. <br />When an individual has a concept, it means that he or she has a general idea that can be applied across a number of specific instances.<br />Consider the concept shirt, for example. Shirts differ in a great number of ways—in terms of their fabric, color or number of colors, sleeve length and so on. Yet having the concept shirt in mind is sufficient to enable the individual to sort things into two categories: shirts and everything else.<br />Concepts encompass universes of possibilities. <br />An important feature of concepts is that each concept consists of a universe of content.<br />Concepts are hypothetical and selective constructions.<br />Concepts are not reality, just ideas regarding reality. This point is easy to appreciate when concepts or constructs apply to nebulous, amorphous, abstract things, such as wanderlust, attitude, or sustainable development. But this point also applies to items that are denotable and concrete. Neither the word shirt nor the thought that this word evokes in the person’s mind is a shirt. Concepts possess no tangible reality, in and of themselves. Although concepts are themselves hypothetical, the things to which they refer include both observable entities and nontangiblephenomena.<br />6/6/2010<br />
  6. 6. The Nature of Concepts<br />(Most) concepts are learned. <br />Most concepts are acquired creations. The infant does not come into the world already possessing the concept shirt. <br />When individuals experience something completely new and different, they must either acquire or create a concept to be able to identify this experience and distinguish it from all other aspects they perceive. <br />There is evidence that certain concepts may be “hardwired,” such as the face of a mother as perceived by a newborn.<br />Concepts are socially shared. <br />In order for communication to occur, the set of concepts possessed by one individual generally needs to be similar to the sets possessed by others.<br />Concepts are reality oriented (or functional). <br />Although not physical reality themselves, most of our concepts presumably are tied to the external world and used as a guide for interpreting and reacting to this world. <br />If a person’s interpretation and labeling of experiences do not mirror the world, then his or her reactions could be dysfunctional, even fatal. Consider the implications of conceptualizing a lethal cobra as a nonlethal garter snake. <br />6/6/2010<br />
  7. 7. Construct<br />6/6/2010<br />As might be imagined, the adult individual’s mind contains a large number of concepts. Fortunately, most concepts cluster together under broader, more encompassing concepts.<br />For example, shirts and ties are both examples of clothing. Cats and dogs are both examples of mammals, which, along with snakes and insects, are examples of animals.<br />Such higher order concepts are called constructs because they refer to instances that are constructed from concepts at lower levels of abstraction.<br />We form and use constructs because they are a powerful means by which we are able to handle greater portions of reality. For example, it is much easier to say “All animals must eat in order to stay alive” than it is to say “All apes, dogs, cats, frogs, snakes, etc., must eat in order to stay alive.” Not only do we use constructs because of their greater economy, efficiency and power, but also because they enable us to achieve a certain degree of order when dealing with the almost infinite number of separate concepts that populates our minds.<br />
  8. 8. Variable<br />6/6/2010<br />One type of construct that is used in many scientific theories is called a variable. <br />A variable has, or is composed of, different “levels” or “values.” For example, gender can be conceptualized as a variable that has two levels or values.<br />Religion<br />Intelligence<br />Age<br />Time<br />
  9. 9. Conceptual Systems<br />Used in isolation, concepts and variables typically provide a limited degree of understanding. It is only when concepts are placed into relationship with each other that they move us toward achieving a deeper understanding of our reality.<br />When two or more concepts are linked together to represent relationships, we have a rudimentary conceptual system.<br />Scientific theories are essentially conceptual systems designed to be useful in identifying, organizing, and explaining or predicting some delimited portion of the experienced world.<br />Thus, as used here, the term understanding encompasses identifying, describing, organizing, differentiating, predicting, and explaining.<br />Armed with an understanding of our world, we can begin to achieve important goals. These goals can be numerous and diverse, but two are especially noteworthy: satisfaction and control.<br />6/6/2010<br />
  10. 10. The End<br />6/6/2010<br />