Reification (the other meaning)

Reification is the soul of the Semantic Web” is a good example of reification in the Marxist interpretation. Don’t believe me? Then stumble yourself accross the wikipedia article on reification (marxism).

Reification (German: Verdinglichung, literally: “thing-ification”) is the consideration of an abstraction or an object as if it had human (pathetic fallacy) or living (reification fallacy) existence and abilities; at the same time it implies the thingification of social relations.

Ordinary examples of Reification

Reification occurs when specifically human creations are misconceived as “facts of nature, results of cosmic laws, or manifestations of divine will”. [3]

Reification is very visible in advertising when the advertiser or designer deliberately tries to associate a commercial product with all kinds of desirable qualities or contexts, with the suggestion that if you buy the product, that you will have access to or experience those desirable qualities. The product thus acquires an deliberately contrived imaginary status in addition to its real status.

A very graphic visual example of reification is pornography in which sexual acts are separated out from the total human context in which they occur.

Reification also frequently occurs in language and any form of communication which involves the representation of things or relationships by symbols. For example, the sentence “Make your money work for you” contains a reification, because money does not do any work at all, people do. The power to do work is falsely attributed to money.

A characteristic of mental illness can be that the mentally-ill person reifies himself or parts of the world around him, misplacing the true context of things, or attributing powers to himself and to objects in the world which they do not really have.

Because of heavily copy/pasted from wikipedia, this blog post is under available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.