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Anthropomorphism

(also known as: personification)

Description: The attributing of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, or other natural phenomena, or to gods. This becomes a logical fallacy when used within the context of an argument.

Logical Form:

Non-human thing is described with human characteristics.

Claim X is made that requires the human characteristics of the thing.

Therefore, claim X is true.

Example #1:

How dare you murder those carrots!

Explanation: Murder is associated with humans and other sentient beings. In this example, the carrots are assumed to have the human characteristics that make murder "murder" and not just "killing" or "eating."

Example #2:

Akoni: The Polynesian fire goddess, Pele, sacrificed her own daughter in the volcano to bring peace to the islands. This is how I know she loves us.

Ubon: Aren't the gods and goddesses immortal?

Akoni: Err, yes.

Ubon: Then what happened to Pele's daughter after she was thrown in the volcano?

Akoni: She was reunited with Pele in the heavens.

Ubon: So why was this a sacrifice?

Explanation: The goddess, Pele, and her daughter are given the human quality of the frailty of life. Humans cannot possibly contemplate immortality and eternity, so the concept of "sacrifice" does not work in this scenario.

References:

anthropomorphism | religion. (n.d.). https://www.britannica.com/topic/anthropomorphism



Registered User Comments

Krista Neckles
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 01:51:29 PM
Hello again Sir,

Please do not be bothered by my questions. You say that anthropomorphism "becomes a logical fallacy when used within the context of an argument". I have enjoyed a significant amount of television shows( such as the children's show Arthur, Berenstein Bears) where the animals are given human properties. Would simply watching these shows be fallacious. I know this question seems foolish. I want to ensure that I am precise with the usage of the fallacy.

Thank you,

Krista Neckles

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 01:53:37 PM
That is not a fallacy :)

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Krista Neckles
Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 03:04:58 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Thank you for clarifying that I was not making a fallacy.

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