On the Limitations of Commonsense Psychology

  • Fred Vollmer


The psychological concepts that form part of our ordinary language are, according to Smedslund, logically related to one another. To be a person, for instance, implies having a body. And the proposition ‘p is a person’ implies ‘p has a body’. Every psychological concept is in this way logically related to some other psychological concepts, and consequently there are many conceptual truths to be discovered by analyzing and explicating ordinary language. Psychological common sense, according to Smedslund, consists of those psychological conceptual truths that everyone knows and agrees upon. Which propositions are of this kind must be ascertained by empirical methods.


Psychological Theory Life Story Ordinary Language True Proposition Psychological Concept 
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  1. Smedslund, J. Common sense as psychosocial reality: A reply to Sjöberg. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 1982, 23, 79–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell, 1953.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Vollmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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