This study proposes that geographic theory can provide an explanation of how self reflective consciousness is the basis of the relationship among self, society, and nature. It then applies these principles to how the social is constituted. In this book, Dr. Sack proposes that at the core of being human is a single basic puzzle - the gap. It arises from the fact that reflective qualities of mind depend on, but are not determined by, causal relations occurring in the brain. The existence of this gap generates other puzzles, the most immediate being how we are able to cope with the gap and undertake complex, collective, and coordinated actions. Sack's answer lies in a geographic theory that explains how place-making is the primary tool that provides this bridge to collective and coordinated action. Understanding the gap and place-making allows us to address other puzzles, such as how the social is constituted, what distinguishes the natural from the social, and how we are morally responsible beings.
Sack's theory offers a critique of contemporary environmental and social theories that have mostly avoided facing the gap (by attempting to explain it away through materialist or social constructivist reductive arguments). It provides an analysis of simple and complex tools; it offers a means of differentiating the 'natural' from the 'social' while explaining how the two are interwoven; it sheds light on moral theory (through intrinsic judgments); and it outlines the underpinnings of an intrinsic type of democracy and a more altruistic concept of economic value.