Lecture Notes.


Elements of Thought: Conceptual Dimension

  • Concepts, Ideas, or Theories.
  • Concepts are clusters of ideas. The result of abstract thinking and is the mental construction of all the characteristics or particulars that make up the more complex idea.
  • It is important to clarify your concepts, and to ask questions about the concepts of others. Do not assume that when one person uses a word that they attach the same concept to it that you do.
  • Examples of Concepts:
    • Mind
    • Education
    • Evolution
    • Bat (Is it a flying mammal or something to hit a ball with?)
    • Choice
    • Morality
    • Government
    • Democracy
    • Family
    • Fairness


  • When writing, remember to clarify key terms and ask questions requiring others to do the same. Never assume that others mean the same thing you do.
  • Many of the most important things we deal with are abstract ideas or concepts. Ideas are real, even though they aren't tangible. They are often things we value more than anything else. For instance, love, freedom, and liberty. These concepts are so valuable, that they require careful explanation when discussed.


  • Identify key concepts and explain them clearly.
  • Consider alternative concepts.
  • Consider alternative definitions.
  • Make sure you use concepts carefully and with precision.
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