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Signified (concept) and signifier (sound-image) as imagined by de Saussure
Signified (concept) and signifier (sound-image) as imagined by de Saussure

"In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art." – Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art", Artforum, June 1967.

From con- +‎ capio.

Diagram of the human mind, from Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica, page 217[1] by Robert Fludd
 The map is not the territory is a concept.   Illustration: The Map of Tendre (Carte du Tendre)
The map is not the territory is a concept.
Illustration: The Map of Tendre (Carte du Tendre)

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and beliefs. They play an important role in all aspects of cognition. As such, concepts are studied by several disciplines, such as linguistics, psychology, and philosophy, and these disciplines are interested in the logical and psychological structure of concepts, and how they are put together to form thoughts and sentences. The study of concepts has served as an important flagship of an emerging interdisciplinary approach called cognitive science.

In contemporary philosophy, there are at least three prevailing ways to understand what a concept is:

Concepts can be organized into a hierarchy, higher levels of which are termed "superordinate" and lower levels termed "subordinate". Additionally, there is the "basic" or "middle" level at which people will most readily categorize a concept. For example, a basic-level concept would be "chair", with its superordinate, "furniture", and its subordinate, "easy chair".

A 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 studied as components of human cognition in the cognitive science disciplines of linguistics, psychology and, philosophy, where an ongoing debate asks whether all cognition must occur through concepts. Concepts are used as formal tools or models in mathematics, computer science, databases and artificial intelligence.

In informal use the word concept often just means any idea.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Concept" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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