Theory, application, and experimentation in the arts and sciences

Theory, experiment, and application can be generally applied to all the arts and sciences.

The Three Pillars of Understanding in the Arts and Sciences

We can apply the concepts of theory, experimentation, and application to all the arts and sciences. For instance we have theoretical physics, experimental physics, and applied physics (same is true for math, other natural sciences, the social sciences, and arguably most systems).

  • Theory: Predictive
  • Experimentation: Testing predictions.
  • Application: Applying well-tested predictions.

TIP: See also, a basic theory of knowledge.

Applying the Concept in the Familiar Area of Physics

Theoretical physics uses math to determine what is possible, experimental physics tests theories to see what can be applied. Applied physics applies these theories to real life.

Theoretical physics comes up with F=ma, experimental physics runs tests to verify the equation, applied physics uses this equation to build a skyscraper.

Each step from theory, to experimentation, to application brings physics closer to real world application. Each works hand-in-hand to create the study of physics as a whole.

Theoretical vs. Experimental Physics.

This same concept can apply to music, math, social science, or other the arts or sciences. In a broad sense we can apply these three concepts to any “system” to understand the system better. In gambling I may study statistics and odds and games of chance; then I break out the cards and algorithms and crunch the numbers through experimentation and practice; then I get to the casino and lay my money down and apply my methods. I could do this in video games, or apply these concepts to social interactions, and more.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Math: Theoretical mathematics make predictions, experimental mathematics tests predictions, applied mathematics puts them to use.

Social Science: Theoretical phycology and sociology devise concepts, experimental social scientists test them, applied social sciences put them to use in legislation, advice, and counseling.

Music: Music theory is the study of the “language of music”. When applied to music, experimentation and application probably cross many wires, but one could think of experimental music as testing musical theories by listening and playing, and applied music as the actual act of performance.

Other arts and sciences: We categorize our website by the “aspects” of life, which is centered in the arts and sciences. You can go to any of the subjects we present above and try to fit this model to it. I haven’t been tripped up in this yet, but since it’s by non-scientific theory I’m not going to get overly detailed just yet.


From the author: couldn’t find any evidence that others have studied the idea of “theory, experiment, and application can be generally applied to all the arts and sciences”. Typically I try to find proof my ideas, but I found the concept pretty fascinating and wanted to share it. So know i’m relaying my “non-scientific theory” on this, not citing a published study. That said, I could walk down to the college and sign up for theoretical, experimental, and applied sciences including physics, math, and the social sciences.. and it’s hard to argue music and computing are much different.

I would also say history is an important aspect of any study. History is an account of important theoretical, experimental, and applied progress of an art or science over time.

"Theory, Experiment, and Application Apply to all Arts and Sciences" is tagged with: Epistemology, Systems, Theories

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