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Personifying The Abstract

The Hypostatization Fallacy can be explained by studying the following statement: “The government has a hand in everybody's business and another in every person's pocket. By limiting such governmental pickpocketing, we can limit its incursions on our freedom.”

This assumes that the government is a person, having desires like humans, and can ‘loot’ us like a robber. The fact that is ignored is that the Government is not an entity by itself, but a collection of people. The metaphor of ‘pickpocketing’ also conjures a visual image of a pickpocket, evoking an emotional reaction.

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Hypostatization is also known as Concretism, or Reification and is a fallacy of ambiguity, where an abstract belief is treated as if it’s real and concrete.

Metaphors can become fallacies as they are taken too far, used too often, or understood mistakenly in the literal sense.

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