northward to Penco. The Bio-Bio is navigable above the city for 100 m. and considerable traffic comes through this channel. The districts tributary to Concepción produce wheat, wine, wool, cattle, coal and timber, and among the industrial establishments of the city are flour mills, furniture and carriage factories, distilleries and breweries. The city is built on a level plain but little above the sea-level, and is laid out in regular squares with broad streets. It is an episcopal see with a cathedral and several fine churches, and is the seat of a court of appeal. The city was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1550, and received the singular title of “La Concepción del Nuevo Extremo.” It was located on the bay of Talcahuano where the town of Penco now stands, about 9 m. from its present site, but was destroyed by earthquakes in 1570, 1730 and 1751, and was then (1755) removed to the margin of the Bio-Bio. In 1835 it was again laid in ruins, a graphic description of which is given by Charles Darwin in The Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. The city was twice burned by the Araucanians during their long struggle against the Spanish colonists.
CONCEPCIÓN, or Villa Concepción, the principal town and a river port of northern Paraguay, on the Paraguay river, 138 m. (234 m. by river) N. of Asunción, and about 345 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1895, estimate) 10,000, largely Indians and mestizos. It is an important commercial centre, and a port of call for the river steamers trading with the Brazilian town of Corumbá, Matto Grosso. It is the principal point for the exportation of Paraguay tea, or “yerba maté” (Ilex paraguayensis). The town has a street railway and telephone service, a national college, a public school, a market, and some important commercial establishments. The neighbouring country is sparsely settled and produces little except forest products. Across the river, in the Paraguayan Chaco, is an English missionary station, whose territory extends inland among the Indians for many miles.
CONCEPT (Lat. conceptus, a thought, from concipere, to take together, combine in thought; Ger. Begriff), in philosophy, a term applied to a general idea derived from and considered apart from the particulars observed by the senses. The mental process by which this idea is obtained is called abstraction (q.v.). By the comparison, for instance, of a number of boats, the mind abstracts a certain common quality or qualities in virtue of which the mind affirms the general idea of “boat.” Thus the connotation of the term “boat,” being the sum of those qualities in respect of which all boats are regarded as alike, whatever their individual peculiarities may be, is described as a “concept.” The psychic process by which a concept is affirmed is called “Conception,” a term which is often loosely used in a concrete sense for “Concept” itself. It is also used even more loosely as synonymous in the widest sense with “idea,” “notion.” Strictly, however, it is contrasted with “perception,” and implies the mental reconstruction and combination of sense-given data. Thus when one carries one’s thoughts back to a series of events, one constructs a psychic whole made up of parts which take definite shape and character by their mutual interrelations. This process is called conceptual synthesis, the possibility of which is a sine qua non for the exchange of information by speech and writing. It should be noticed that this (very common) psychological interpretation of “conception” differs from the metaphysical or general philosophical definition given above, in so far as it includes mental presentations in which the universal is not specifically distinguished from the particulars. Some psychologists prefer to restrict the term to the narrower use which excludes all mental states in which particulars are cognized, even though the universal be present also.
In biology conception is the coalescence of the male and female generative elements, producing pregnancy.
CONCEPTUALISM (from “Concept”), in philosophy, a term applied by modern writers to a scholastic theory of the nature of universals, to distinguish it from the two extremes of Nominalism and Realism. The scholastic philosophers took up the old Greek problem as to the nature of true reality—whether the general idea or the particular object is more truly real. Between Realism which asserts that the genus is more real than the species, and that particulars have no reality, and Nominalism according to which genus and species are merely names (nomina, flatus vocis), Conceptualism takes a mean position. The conceptualist holds that universals have a real existence, but only in the mind, as the concepts which unite the individual things: e.g. there is in the mind a general notion or idea of boats, by reference to which the mind can decide whether a given object is, or is not, a boat. On the one hand “boat” is something more than a mere sound with a purely arbitrary conventional significance; on the other it has, apart from particular things to which it applies, no reality; its reality is purely abstract or conceptual. This theory was enunciated by Abelard in opposition to Roscellinus (nominalist) and William of Champeaux (realist). He held that it is only by becoming a predicate that the class-notion or general term acquires reality. Thus similarity (conformitas) is observed to exist between a number of objects in respect of a particular quality or qualities. This quality becomes real as a mental concept when it is predicated of all the objects possessing it (“quod de pluribus natum est praedicari”). Hence Abelard’s theory is alternatively known as Sermonism (sermo, “predicate”). His statement of this position oscillates markedly, inclining sometimes towards the nominalist, sometimes towards the realist statement, using the arguments of the one against the other. Hence he is described by some as a realist, by others as a nominalist. When he comes to explain that objective similarity in things which is represented by the class-concept or general term, he adopts the theological Platonic view that the ideas which are the archetypes of the qualities exist in the mind of God. They are, therefore, ante rem, in re and post rem, or, as Avicenna stated it, universalia ante multiplicitatem, in multiplicitate, post multiplicitatem. (See Logic, Metaphysics.)
CONCERT (through the French from Lat. con-, with, and certare, to strive), a term meaning, in general, co-operation, agreement or union; the more specific usages being, in music, for a public performance by instrumentalists, vocalists or both combined, and in diplomacy, for an understanding or agreement for common action between two or more states, whether defined by treaty or not. The term “Concert of Europe” has been commonly applied, since the congress of Vienna (1814–1815), to the European powers consulting or acting together in questions of common interest. (See Alliance and Europe: History.)
CONCERTINA, or Melodion (Fr. concertina, Ger. Ziehharmonica or Bandoneon), a wind instrument of the seraphine family with free reeds, forming a link in the evolution of the harmonium from the mouth organ, intermediate links being the cheng and the accordion. The concertina consists of two hexagonal or rectangular keyboards connected by a long expansible bellows of many folds similar to that of the accordion. The keyboards are furnished with rows of knobs, which, on being pressed down by the fingers, open valves admitting the air compressed by the bellows to the free reeds, which are thus set in vibration. These free reeds consist of narrow tongues of brass riveted by one end to the inside surface of the keyboard, and having their free ends slightly bent, some outwards, some inwards, the former actuated by suction when the bellows are expanded, the latter by compression. The pitch of the note depends upon the length and thickness of the reeds, reduction of the length tending to sharpen the pitch of the note, while reduction of the thickness lowers it. The bellows being unprovided with a valve can only draw in and emit the air through the reed valves. In order to produce the sound, the concertina is held horizontally between the hands, the bellows being by turns compressed and expanded. The English concertina, invented and patented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829, the year of the
- The word “conceit” in its various senses (“idea,” “plan,” “fancy,” “imagination,” and, by modern extension, an overweening sense of one’s own value) is likewise derived ultimately from the Latin concipere. It appears to have been formed directly from the English derivative “conceive” on the analogy of “deceit” from “deceive.” According to the New English Dictionary there is no intermediate form in Old French.