chapter  1
Introduction to psychological metaphysics
Pages 10

Consider the whole multifarious conglomerate of beliefs, judgements, concepts, and so on, cultural, sub-cultural, personal, stable or transient, that make up a person's understanding of the world and all that is in it. Could this bewildering diversity have any overall organisation, giving a place to every element within it? It could and does: it is an organisation that can be comprehended by elucidating its most fundamental components, for those are the things, more than anything else, that determine the pattern into which all of the elements in the organisation fall. Not only that, but every judgement, inference, and attribution is made in the light of that organisation, and in a way that depends on the fundamental components of that organisation. Thus, to understand social cognition, it is necessary to understand those fundamental components, how they come to be, and how they shape the pattern of elements which they underpin. Common sense is not a formless mass of bits and pieces: it is an integrated, structured, hierarchically organised whole, and the kind of whole it is makes a difference to everything an individual does.