The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness or Reification

The fallacy of misplaced concreteness is a fallacy formulated by Alfred Whitehead in his book Process and Reality (1929), and refers to the error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete. Whitehead explains the fallacy in a discussion on the spacial location of objects. He states that a concrete physical object in the universe does not possess the character of simple location without reference to its relations to other objects, and to think of a spatial point as being anything other than an abstraction is a mistake. In other words, people tend to mistake abstract concepts for accurate descriptions of reality.


Whitehead, A.N. (1929) “Process and reality”, New York: Harper