A commonly cited example of reification is the treatment of intelligence testing scores as if they were the concrete and universal definition of intelligence. Intelligence is an abstraction that is difficult to define and measure.
Treating an abstraction as a person such as “nature is kind.”
Abstractions as objects such as “he lost his mind.”
Assigning physical properties to abstractions such as “freedom is hard.”
Substituting an abstraction for something that is real. For example, referring to a government as “the people.”
Assigning human characteristics to non-human things. For example, “the thunder is angry.”
Treating abstractions as if they have agency such as motivation. For example, “the market wants to go down.”
Treating time as a normal physical thing such as “give me my time back.”
Pretending that abstractions caused something that they could not have caused. For example, “art drove him mad.”
Pretending that abstractions such as happiness or intelligence can be measured with accuracy.
A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."Reification is a cornerstone of language as most words are abstract concepts and it is common to assign human-like characteristics to these concepts. Where this is understood as an analogy, play on words or creative license, it is not a fallacy. However, it can be difficult to separate these things and reification can be used in deceptive ways.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
Treating an abstraction as a concrete thing.