Theory vs. Opinion - What's the difference?

Main Difference

The main difference between Theory and Opinion is that the Theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking and Opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive; may deal with subjective matters in which there is no conclusive finding.

Wikipedia

  • Theory

    A 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. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several related meanings. Theories guide the enterprise of finding facts rather than of reaching goals, and are neutral concerning alternatives among values. A theory can be a body of knowledge, which may or may not be associated with particular explanatory models. To theorize is to develop this body of knowledge. As already in Aristotle's definitions, theory is very often contrasted to "practice" (from Greek praxis, πρᾶξις) a Greek term for doing, which is opposed to theory because pure theory involves no doing apart from itself. A classical example of the distinction between "theoretical" and "practical" uses the discipline of medicine: medical theory involves trying to understand the causes and nature of health and sickness, while the practical side of medicine is trying to make people healthy. These two things are related but can be independent, because it is possible to research health and sickness without curing specific patients, and it is possible to cure a patient without knowing how the cure worked. In modern science, the term "theory" refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support ("verify") or empirically contradict ("falsify") it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word "theory" that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better characterized by the word hypothesis). Scientific theories are distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and from scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature behaves under certain conditions.

  • Opinion

    In general, an opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive. It may deal with subjective matters in which there is no conclusive finding, or it may deal with facts which are sought to be disputed by the logical fallacy that one is entitled to their opinions. What distinguishes fact from opinion is that facts are more likely to be verifiable, i.e. can be agreed to by the consensus of experts. An example is: "United States of America was involved in the Vietnam War" versus "United States of America was right to get involved in the Vietnam War". An opinion may be supported by facts and principles, in which case it becomes an argument. Different people may draw opposing conclusions (opinions) even if they agree on the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. It can be reasoned that one opinion is better supported by the facts than another by analyzing the supporting arguments. In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person's perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact. Collective or professional opinions are defined as meeting a higher standard to substantiate the opinion. (see below)

Wiktionary

  • Theory (noun)

    Mental conception; reflection, consideration. 16th-18th c.

  • Theory (noun)

    A phenomena and correctly predicts new facts or phenomena not previously observed, or which sets out the laws and principles of something known or observed; a hypothesis confirmed by observation, experiment etc. from 17th c.

  • Theory (noun)

    The underlying principles or methods of a given technical skill, art etc., as opposed to its practice. from 17th c.

  • Theory (noun)

    A field of study attempting to exhaustively describe a particular class of constructs. from 18th c.

    "Knot theory classifies the mappings of a circle into 3-space."

  • Theory (noun)

    A hypothesis or conjecture. from 18th c.

  • Theory (noun)

    A set of axioms together with all statements derivable from them. Equivalently, a formal language plus a set of axioms (from which can then be derived theorems).

    "A theory is consistent if it has a model."

  • Opinion (noun)

    A subjective belief, judgment or perspective that a person has formed about a topic, issue, person or thing.

    "I would like to know your opinions on the new filing system."

    "In my opinion, white chocolate is better than milk chocolate."

    "Every man is a fool in some man's opinion."

  • Opinion (noun)

    The judgment or sentiment which the mind forms of persons or things; estimation.

  • Opinion (noun)

    Favorable estimation; hence, consideration; reputation; fame; public sentiment or esteem.

  • Opinion (noun)

    Obstinacy in holding to one's belief or impression; opiniativeness; conceitedness.

  • Opinion (noun)

    The formal decision, or expression of views, of a judge, an umpire, a doctor, or other party officially called upon to consider and decide upon a matter or point submitted.

  • Opinion (noun)

    a judicial opinion delivered by an Advocate General to the European Court of Justice where he or she proposes a legal solution to the cases for which the court is responsible

  • Opinion (verb)

    To have or express as an opinion.

Webster Dictionary

  • Theory (noun)

    A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.

  • Theory (noun)

    An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.

  • Theory (noun)

    The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.

  • Theory (noun)

    The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.

  • Opinion (noun)

    That which is opined; a notion or conviction founded on probable evidence; belief stronger than impression, less strong than positive knowledge; settled judgment in regard to any point of knowledge or action.

  • Opinion (noun)

    The judgment or sentiment which the mind forms of persons or things; estimation.

  • Opinion (noun)

    Favorable estimation; hence, consideration; reputation; fame; public sentiment or esteem.

  • Opinion (noun)

    Obstinacy in holding to one's belief or impression; opiniativeness; conceitedness.

  • Opinion (noun)

    The formal decision, or expression of views, of a judge, an umpire, a counselor, or other party officially called upon to consider and decide upon a matter or point submitted.

  • Opinion

    To opine.

Princeton's WordNet

  • 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;

    "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"

    "true in fact and theory"

  • Theory (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;

    "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"

  • Theory (noun)

    a belief that can guide behavior;

    "the architect has a theory that more is less"

    "they killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales"

  • Opinion (noun)

    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty;

    "my opinion differs from yours"

    "what are your thoughts on Haiti?"

  • Opinion (noun)

    a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people;

    "he asked for a poll of public opinion"

  • Opinion (noun)

    a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof;

    "his opinions appeared frequently on the editorial page"

  • Opinion (noun)

    the legal document stating the reasons for a judicial decision;

    "opinions are usually written by a single judge"

  • Opinion (noun)

    the reason for a court's judgment (as opposed to the decision itself)

  • Opinion (noun)

    a vague idea in which some confidence is placed;

    "his impression of her was favorable"

    "what are your feelings about the crisis?"

    "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"

    "I had a feeling that she was lying"

Illustrations

Opinion

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