opposite of Anthropomorphism / pathetic fallacy / reification

scotu

Senior Member
Chicago English
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings or inanimate objects.

Is there a word that means the reverse?
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Scotu,

    I think we need to establish what you mean by 'opposite of anthropomorphism'.

    Would it be to attribute the characteristics of an inanimate object to a person?

    If so, calling someone "as full of feeling as a block of stone" might qualify. Isn't that sort of statement
    generally called an insult?

    How about "
    anthropodenial"?
     

    scotu

    Senior Member
    Chicago English
    Hi Scotu,

    I think we need to establish what you mean by 'opposite of anthropomorphism'.

    Would it be to attribute the characteristics of an inanimate object to a person? or to attribute the characteristics of a (sexual) part of the anatomy to a person

    If so, calling someone "as full of feeling as a block of stone" might qualify. Isn't that sort of statement generally called an insult?
    Not necessairly, some insulting remarks are meant as compliments, like this recent post in the ES/En forum: "She's a top artist. And a sweet pussy, too" (this is what prompted my question)

    How about "anthropodenial"? That's creative!.:)
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi,
    I am not aware of a term for the opposite of anthropomorphic.

    There is a rhetorical device called synecdoche a form of metonymy, that is used to describe taking a part for the whole. That is what I think your original example illustrates.

    Examples:

    He asked for her hand in marriage. (hand substitutes for the whole person)

    I want a roof over my head. (roof over my head, substitutes for wanting a house.)
     

    canbyte

    New Member
    English-Canada
    Answer is found here (paste into address, remove spaces)

    LINK HERE

    I'd spell it out but thats kinda stealing someone else's idea.

    Cheers :)

    <<Moderator note.
    It is not stealing an idea if you clearly attribute the content to the source (in this case ~max~).
    The suggestion on theanswerbank is that the opposite of antropomorphism is zoomorphism . >>
     
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    scotu

    Senior Member
    Chicago English
    Zoomorphism would certainly cover giving animal charactistics to humans (He is a tiger)
    But what about ascribing the characteristics of inantimate objects to humans? (He is a rock)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    [....]
    But what about ascribing the characteristics of inantimate objects to humans? (He is a rock)
    I would call this reification: to treat a person or an abstraction as a thing. I am also familiar with the use of the verbal form reify to refer to treating of people as objects, although dictionaries give only the meaning that relates to treating abstractions as concrete things.

    Whether either of these terms would be useful to you depends on your audience. Previous threads make this point:
    opposite of anthropomorphic (with which you are already familiar).
    using "reify" with regard to people which in turn links to earlier discussions.
     

    victorgiraffe

    New Member
    english-ireland
    Pathetic Fallacy
    An "exquisite" example of pathetic fallacy:

    <Excess quoted material removed. Please have a look at the forum
    Rules >


    The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
    And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
    The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
    And the lily whispers, "I wait." Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Maud(Part 1, XXII, 10)
     
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    victorgiraffe

    New Member
    english-ireland
    The question asked was what is the opposite of Anthropomorphism? Pathetic Fallacy is the opposite of Anthropomorphism.
     

    FurryOne

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    I found this in Wikipedia under pathetic fallacy:
    "The pathetic fallacy or anthropomorphic fallacy is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations."

    So they aren't opposites, which is what I thought.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Clearly the anthropomorphist likens inanimate objects to people and attributes human emotions to things; this doesn't really have an opposite. Ruskin's essay sees the possibility of being subjective (looking at things in a way which is particular to yourself) and being objective (looking at things as they really are). The person empathizing with nature and committing the pathetic fallacy is being subjective; I suppose you could argue that the nearest to the opposite of this is being objective.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Funny you should have mentioned that, James. I was just wondering what label we put on things like calling someone a blockhead or a dirtbag, other than possibly an insult or objective comment.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Funny you should have mentioned that, James. I was just wondering what label we put on things like calling someone a blockhead or a dirtbag, other than possibly an insult or objective comment.
    I would call that (hyperbolic) reification.

    See Post #9.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It might just be worth mentioning that Ruskin's expression took off. It became used particularly for nineteenth-century painting in which the whole landscape took on the mood of the people in it - as if the countryside exchanged feelings with the people: Wordsworth's leech-gatherer in Resolution and Independence is an example in poetry; here's an example in painting.
     
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    mikadeaux

    New Member
    english - American
    Alright, does anyone have a word I could use in the context of the pantheon of classical gods? I looked up anthropomorphic opposite, with the specific intent of finding a word that reversed the relationship between humans seeing gods through the windows of their own nature. I'm actually looking for a word that might mean the way hypothetically a god would see a human through the prism of his own divinity (or the way a human might hope a god would see him thusly)... am prepared to proffer the word deifimorphic if I cant find a word already in usage. any ideas?

    Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings or inanimate objects.

    Is there a word that means the reverse?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Alright, does anyone have a word I could use in the context of the pantheon of classical gods? I looked up anthropomorphic opposite, with the specific intent of finding a word that reversed the relationship between humans seeing gods through the windows of their own nature. I'm actually looking for a word that might mean the way hypothetically a god would see a human through the prism of his own divinity (or the way a human might hope a god would see him thusly)... am prepared to proffer the word deifimorphic if I cant find a word already in usage. any ideas?
    Hi mika

    I think the word you want is theomorphic:).
     

    CedroRosso

    New Member
    English & French
    Found this thread randomly, and this might be too late to help, but the word you are looking for is Theriomorphism. I think (not sure) that I first came across the word for the first time in a translated essay by Jung where he mentions a Medieval carnival where, after the election of a "fool's pope," a mass was held using absurd donkey brayings instead of Latin and even Jesus was portrayed as a donkey.

    edit: this post is a response to the initial question regarding the antonym for anthropomorphism i.e. imbuing animals with humanity, not the ensuing question on theomorphism.
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Welcome Cedro:) Well, that's not quite what the first poster was looking for, actually. According to the OED, theriomorphism is:
    The ascription to God or to a god of the form or characteristics of a beast.
    [my emphasis in red]
    The question was "... to people or [other] objects.":(
     
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    juandiego

    Senior Member
    Spanish from Spain
    Thanks for your reply, Cagey.

    Well, I suspected that could be the most probable interpretation but I was referring to the literary personification's acceptance as synonym to anthropomorphism (prosopopoeia):
    1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) the attribution of human characteristics to things, abstract ideas, etc., as for literary or artistic effect,
    and the prefix de- meaning of:
    1. Do or make the opposite of; reverse: decriminalize.

    Probably I was being too carried away by my own language in which, I'd say, the term would strongly suggest said debasement.
     

    CedroRosso

    New Member
    English & French
    Hmm Ewie, I checked a few other dictionaries and they gave me contradictory definitions. Was bored so I looked into some encyclopedic sources and have concluded that it can mean the theriomorphicization (woa) of either man or deity depending on context (particularly pychological/psychoanalytic vs. theological); it means the ascription of animal characteristics to some non-animal entity. Weirdly enough, OED gave me a different and particularly vague definition: "(especially of deity) having an animal form." Less presumptuously, I'm pretty sure theriomorphic just means "animal shaped" in Greek.

    Also, returning to the original post, I would simply use "objectification" if you are really bent on including inanimate objects as well.
     
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    Ironicus

    Senior Member
    English & Swahili - East Africa
    Anthropomorphism is usually used, not to ascribe human characteristics to things or animals, but to gods. So for instance a loving God in the sky, long white beard, sitting on a throne, is an anthropomorphism.
    The pathetic fallacy is the ascription of human feelings to animals - 'pathetic' signifying 'feeling'. My grandfather, who knew his oats, used to say that an idealistic Socialist is guilty of the pathetic fallacy - thinking that everyone in the community would share his own lofty ideals.
    Reification is taking an idea or concept to be a concrete entity: as 'under capitalism, man exploits his fellow man; under socialism, it's the reverse'. That's 4 reifications in one short sentence. Or how about "Woman without her Man is a beast", also rendered as "Woman: without her, Man is a beast." Also 3 reifications each.
     

    Maah!

    New Member
    English
    << Does not address topic question >>

    Let us suggest a new word to the educated english-speaking world to describe the opposite of anthropomorphism; such as ex (to remove), anthro (human), theo (god), ism (action)= exanthrotheism..the act of removing the human or personality of God.
     
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    Maah!

    New Member
    English
    Removal of the personality of a sentient being is the opposite of giving personality to a non-sentient thing, such as a cartoon of a car.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Anthropomorphism is usually used, not to ascribe human characteristics to things or animals, but to gods. So for instance a loving God in the sky, long white beard, sitting on a throne, is an anthropomorphism.
    Actually, that's not quite true. Currently people are far more likely to talk about anthropormorphising animals or inanimate objects. Of the 15 instances found today in a search for "anthropomorphize" in Google news, 8 concerned animals, the others related to inanimate objects ranging from Twitter to a car, to "Market demands".
    The pathetic fallacy is the ascription of human feelings to animals - 'pathetic' signifying 'feeling'. My grandfather, who knew his oats, used to say that an idealistic Socialist is guilty of the pathetic fallacy - thinking that everyone in the community would share his own lofty ideals.
    (By the logic of your definition, your grandfather thought of everyone else in the community as animals to whom the Socialists falsely ascribed feelings. :eek: )
    Our own dictionary defines pathetic fallacy as:
    the attribution of human feelings and responses to inanimate things or animals.


    I am more accustomed to seeing it used in reference descriptions of inanimate objects, such as the ocean or the weather, as in the Wiki article Pathetic Fallacy: The pathetic fallacy, anthropomorphic fallacy or sentimental fallacy is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations.

    Reification is taking an idea or concept to be a concrete entity: as 'under capitalism, man exploits his fellow man; under socialism, it's the reverse'. That's 4 reifications in one short sentence. Or how about "Woman without her Man is a beast", also rendered as "Woman: without her, Man is a beast." Also 3 reifications each.
    This is one use of reification. It also can be used to refer to the opposite, treating something animate, especially a person, as though they were an object.

    See these previous threads.
    Reification, to reify.....

    using "reify" with regard to people
     
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    chighf01

    New Member
    English
    Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and qualities to nonhuman beings or inanimate objects.

    Is there a word that means the reverse?
    Sorry my contribution has been a long time coming, but I would use 'reverse anthropomorphism' in the context of "He/she is despicable as Daffy Duck".
     
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