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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

https://www.thoughtco.com/reification-hypostatization-fallacy-250333

thoughtco.com

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Key Ideas

Hypostatization

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.

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.

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.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & 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.

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.

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When trying to get your point across...

... avoid negative language.

Using negative words will activate and strengthen your opponent's frames and undermine your own views.  Successfully arguing a point requires you to ...

Mental frames

... are structure that are represented in the brain by neural circuitry. Frames shape the way people see the world, and consequently, the goals they seek and the choices that they make.

Mental frames and decision making

They are extremely powerful, because most of our actions are based on the unconscious and metaphorical frames we already have in place. And once a frame is in place, the boundaries of that frame and the associations of that frame are all taken into account in our decision making.