(also known as: abstraction, concretism, fallacy of misplaced concreteness, hypostatization, pathetic fallacy [form of])
Definition: When an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity -- when an idea is treated as if had a real existence.
How can you not want to go jogging? Look at that street -- it’s calling your name. It wants your feet pounding on it. “Jog on me!”
Explanation: By reifying the street, we are attempting to establish a greater emotional connection, thus attempting to get the person to act more on emotion than reason.
The Bible says that we parents should kill our disobedient children by stoning them to death.
Explanation: The Bible is a book, it doesn’t “say” anything. By allowing this type of language to go unchallenged, the “the Bible says...”, people don’t really think about what has transpired since the words were first written. In reality, some anonymous author from a very barbaric culture, thousands of years ago, wrote what appears to be a command coming from the creator of the universe, that suggests, based on interpretation, given hundreds of years of copying texts by hand, and thousands of years of translations, the law of their culture was to kill disobedient children by stoning them to death.
Exception: If used as a rhetorical device, when the reification is deliberate and harmless, and not used as evidence to support a claim or conclusion, then it should be acceptable.
My stomach is telling me it is time to eat!
Variation: The pathetic fallacy is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations. Think of cursing at your computer when it does not give you the results you expect.