noun, plural sche·ma·ta [skee-muh-tuh or, sometimes, skee-mah-tuh, ski-] /ˈski mə tə or, sometimes, skiˈmɑ tə, skɪ-/, sche·mas.

  1. a diagram, plan, or scheme.
  2. an underlying organizational pattern or structure; conceptual framework: A schema provides the basis by which someone relates to the events he or she experiences.
  3. (in Kantian epistemology) a concept, similar to a universal but limited to phenomenal knowledge, by which an object of knowledge or an idea of pure reason may be apprehended.

noun plural -mata (-mətə)

  1. a plan, diagram, or scheme
  2. (in the philosophy of Kant) a rule or principle that enables the understanding to apply its categories and unify experienceuniversal succession is the schema of causality
  3. psychol a mental model of aspects of the world or of the self that is structured in such a way as to facilitate the processes of cognition and perception
  4. logic an expression using metavariables that may be replaced by object language expressions to yield a well-formed formula. Thus A = A is an axiom schema for identity, representing the infinite number of axioms, x = x, y = y, z = z, etc

n.plural schemata, 1796, in Kantian philosophy (“a product of the imagination intermediary between an image and a concept“), from Greek skhema (see scheme (n.)). Meaning “diagrammatic representation” is from 1890; general sense of “hypothetical outline” is by 1939. n. pl. sche•mas

  1. A diagrammatic representation; an outline or a model.
  2. A pattern imposed on complex reality or experience to assist in explaining it, mediate perception, or guide response.
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