Reification

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Reification means to convert an abstract concept or idea into a tangible entity or thing. The word is derived from the Latin words res (a thing) and facere (to make), so it would literally mean "to make a thing". An example of reification is when someone says "Justice is blind". Justice is an abstract concept, but the phrase is attributing it properties exclusive to seeing, tangible entities.

Reification Fallacy

In informal logic, a reification fallacy occurs when one of the arguments in a syllogism reifies a concept, and the conclusion refers to the reified concept. This is a special case of Equivocation, because a word is being interpreted in a different way from what it actually means.

For example: A: Justice is blind B: Judges represent justice Conclusion: Judges should be blind

This is a common fallacy among deists/theists that affirm things like: A: Life is a gift B: A gift is given by someone Conclusion: Someone must have created us

The problem with this conclusion is that giving tangible properties to the abstract concept of Life (in this case, the property of being handed down from one person to another as an object) and then base the conclusion on argument B, that a gift is a thing that has a giver and a receiver, therefore there must be a giver of that gift.

Pathetic Fallacy

This is a specific type of reification where an abstract idea is reified by anthropomorphizing it, and then a conclusion is drawn based on its new human properties.

For example: A: We are mistreating Nature C: There has been an increased number of natural disasters in the past years Conclusion: Nature is retaliating for our mistreatment

The conclusion that nature is taking revenge for our mistreatment automatically gives the abstract concept of nature characteristics exclusive to humans (being able to take revenge).

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