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Hypostatization: Ascribing Reality to Abstractions and Concepts

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: Ascribing Reality to Abstractions and Concepts

Hypostatization: Ascribing Reality to Abstractions and Concepts


Key Ideas


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.

It involves giving substance or attributing real existence to mental constructs, concepts and unproven theories.

When Metaphors Become Fallacies

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

How we describe anything is very powerful as words and language can create lasting impressions in our minds. Language creates a smokescreen that interferes with our impression of reality.



Begging the question
Begging the question

Begging the question is an example of a fallacy of presumption, also known as a circular argument: The conclusion appears at the beginning and the end of the argument. ...

Begging the question example

"The law says you should drive on the right side of the road, and the law is the law."

When someone is questioning this statement, they are questioning the law. If we say, "because that is the law," we are begging the question. We are assuming the validity of what the other person is questioning.

Structure of circular reasoning

The most simple form of begging the question: A is true because A is true.

Circular reasoning can also be a bit longer:

  • A is true because B is true, and B is true because A is true.
  • A is true because B is true, and B is true because C is true. C is correct because A is true.
Cherry picking

It is a logical fallacy and it happens when we choose and focus only on evidence that supports our views and arguments while ignoring anything that may contradict us.

The problem with cherry picking
  • It fails to take into consideration all the available information
  • It presents information in a misleading way.
  • It might lead to improper analysis and might cause someone to paint a misleading picture of a certain outcome.
The principle of total evidence

Also referred to as Bernoulli’s maxim, it states that, when assessing the probability that a certain hypothesis is true, we must take into account all the available information.

3 more ideas

The Appeal to Force
The Appeal to Force

This fallacy occurs when a person makes a threat of physical or psychological violence against others if they refuse to accept the conclusions offered. It can also happen when a person clai...

An Examples of the Appeal to Force

Adults use the fallacy more subtly.

"If you don't support the spending bill to develop better airplanes, our enemies will think we are weak and will attack us at some point, killing millions." The person offering this argument is using psychological pressure to get agreement. There is no apparent connection between "our enemies" and the conclusion that it will be in the country's best interest.