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Objectification is the process by which an abstract concept is treated as if it is a concrete thing or physical object. In this sense the term is synonym to reification.

The term may also be applied to a person, in which case it refers to regarding or treating the person as 'a thing' or object, separate from their personal attributes or characteristics. For example, sexual objectification refers to regarding or treating a person as merely a non-human object, or tool, for sex - sometimes described "as a means to an end".

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum[1] has argued that something is objectified if any of the following factors is present:

  • Instrumentality - if the thing is treated as a tool for one's own purposes;
  • Denial of autonomy - if the thing is treated as if lacking in agency or self-determination;
  • Inertness - if the thing is treated as if lacking in agency;
  • Ownership - if the thing is treated as if owned by another;
  • Fungibility - if the thing is treated as if interchangeable;
  • Violability - if the thing is treated as if permissible to smash;
  • denial of subjectivity - if the thing is treated as if there is no need to show concern for the 'object's' feelings and experiences.

See also

References

  1. ^ Martha C. Nussbaum, “Objectification”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 24 (4), pp. 279-83







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