Tag Archives: fallacies

The Reification Fallacy

I have written a few posts about the logical problem of making an abstract concept concrete:

Today I learned that this rhetorical trick already has a name: The Reification Fallacy. The Reification Fallacy goes by several other names:

  • Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness (Whitehead)
  • Concretism
  • Concretizing the Abstract
  • Hypostatisation: [Gk. hypostatos: substantially existing] attributing real identity to (a concept).  See Hypostasis in theology (wiki)
  • Ontological Fallacy

Reification Fallacy is the error of treating as a concrete thing something which is not concrete, but merely an idea. It  For example: if the phrase “fighting for justice” is taken literally, justice would be reified.  The trouble comes when we start to think of abstractions as if they were concrete realities themselves — thereby “reifying” them.

The Reification Fallacy is a type of Ambiguity Fallacy (see: Fallacy Files) and I have illustrated its place on the Fallacy Taxonomy above. Interestingly, I can’t find the “Reification Fallacy” discussed in the “Fallacy Files”. But here are some sources that do discuss it:

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Logical Fallacies & Rhetorical Tricks

We intuitively know when an argument sounds wrong or tricky. Philosophers have for centuries labelled and classified these errors in argument. Embarrassingly, I have only learned many of these names for fallacies since I started blogging. But heck, it is never too late to learn.  Knowing these convenient names for fallacies can save us from long-winded explanations as we try to see through our own manipulative, tricky, deceptive arguments (and those of others).

This is an index post where I will slowly list my writings on fallacies.  The above taxonomy for fallacies is from my favorite source: http://www.fallacyfiles.org . I will use it (and may change it) to illustrate future posts.  If you have other resources for fallacy education or suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Fallacy Posts:

Resources:

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