Anthropomorphic Fallacy

The Anthropomorphic Fallacy (also called anthropomorphism) is our tendency to attribute human emotions and characteristics to inanimate objects and aspects of nature, such as plants, animals, or the weather. For example, we might say that our houseplant looks sad or that our TV doesn’t want to work anymore, when in reality the plant just needs water and the TV needs to be repaired.

Plants and electronics do not have thoughts or feelings. Whether animals think or feel is more controversial, as research has shown that many animals, such as dogs, are intelligent and do experience emotions, but their behaviors are not as complex as those of humans. We should not assume that a dog experiences shame or acts on that feeling in the same way as a human. Most scientists agree that when observing animal behavior or describing inanimate objects, we should be as objective as possible.

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