Logical Fallacies
Logical Fallacies / Reification
Reification icon



Also called the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness, or hypostatization, the reification fallacy occurs when an argument relies on an abstract concept as if it were a concrete fact; when a hypothetical scenario or situation is referred to, and treated as if it were a real thing.

Example of Reification

  • "The ocean is calling me saying 'Come play with me, and splash in the salty waves'." The ocean is not concious entity that can speak.
  • "He had to heed the call of Mother Nature and go live in the woods." 'Mother Nature' is a philosophical construct and cannot 'call' anyone to do anything.


Alternative Names: Concretism, hypostatization, misplaced concreteness

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ReificationExtended Explanation

The reification fallacy, also known as hypostatization, is a logical fallacy that involves treating an abstract concept as if it were a concrete physical object. It often occurs in the context of a debate or discussion when one person attempts to explain a complex concept by focusing on a single aspect of it, and then treating that aspect as if it were the entirety of the concept. This can lead to an oversimplification of the concept and overlook important nuances or details.

The fallacy is based on the assumption that abstract concepts can be reduced to a single property or element, and then treated as if they actually exist in reality. For example, someone might argue that “love is a feeling” and then proceed to define it in terms of that single emotion, ignoring the nuances and complexities of love. This type of thinking is flawed because it fails to acknowledge that love is a complex concept that encompasses many different aspects, such as emotion, commitment, and trust.

Reification is a common logical fallacy because it is often used as a way to simplify a complex concept. It is a form of black-and-white thinking that leads to an oversimplified understanding of an issue. It can be especially dangerous when used to discuss social issues or politics, as it can lead to an overly simplistic and narrow view of a complex problem.

When someone uses the reification fallacy, it is important to point out that they are oversimplifying the concept and ignoring important details. Reminding them that the concept is more complicated than they are making it out to be can help them gain a better understanding of the issue. In addition, it is important to highlight any additional aspects of the concept that may have been overlooked. Doing so can help to create a more nuanced understanding of the concept and avoid the reification fallacy.