There is general agreement that knowledge plays a key role in intelligent behavior, but most work on this topic has emphasized domain-specific expertise. We argue, in contrast, that cognitive systems also benefit from meta-level knowledge that has a domain-independent character. In this paper, we propose a representational framework that distinguishes between these two forms of content, along with an integrated architecture that supports their use for abductive interpretation and hierarchical skill execution. We demonstrate this framework’s viability on high-level aspects of extended dialogue that require reasoning about, and altering, participants’ beliefs and goals. Furthermore, we demonstrate its generality by showing that the meta-level knowledge operates with different domain-level content. We conclude by reviewing related work on these topics and discussing promising directions for future research.