Reification

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See also: Reification (programming)

Reification is the process of giving material form to an abstract concept or idea. It is a common device in literature; for example, in Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the boar's head that the boys worship might be said to reify their descent from civilization into barbarism. Reification can also take place in politics and law, as social mores and taboos are given tangible enforcement: for example, South Africa's twentieth century apartheid laws could be seen as a reification of the racism ingrained in that country's society at the time.

As a logical fallacy

The fallacy of reification, also known as concretism and the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, arises when abstractions are treated as actually existing entities. It often involves treating abstractions as more real than the human beings associated with them. For example, liberal collectivists argue that society, identity groups, and families are existent entities with rights superior to the rights of the people in them.

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