Talk:No true Scotsman

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Offensive of Term[edit]

This phrase is offensive to the people of Scotland. Many phrases of the past were, and some are sadly still in use. This article should give brief mention to the fact that this is an ethnocentric, demeaning phrase, in the same way that some phrases about the Irish etc. are still used, but are offensive in the 21st century. I realize persons not from Scotland may not see this as valid, but it should be given consideration. CinemaScholar (talk) 00:51, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia is not a place to share your unsourced personal opinions. MrOllie (talk) 00:54, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Nor yours. CinemaScholar (talk) 00:58, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@CinemaScholar, what MrOllie is telling you is that if you want the article to include a mention of the term being ethnocentric and demeaning, you need to provide a reliable source that supports those assertions. We can't simply take your word for it. Valereee (talk) 02:02, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Of course. Maligning an entire country needs a citation. It isn't enough for a scholar of the 21st century to demean an entire group. A citation is needed in the other direction. Best to have a situation where the victim must have proof. Indeed, we all understand that. (talk) 03:29, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Here's the thing, 24. Someone else comes in and says "Nae, Scottish people think this is hilarious. We all love it! No True Scotsman would find offense!" Who do we believe? Valereee (talk) 03:31, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I suppose maligning an entire nation is still acceptable in the eyes of some. (talk) 03:34, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
By all means, according to some, let ethnocentrism prevail, along with sexism and racism. Sadly, though, some of us disagree. (talk) 03:36, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Bring reliable citations that verify that this phrase is perceived by some as "racist" or "ethnocentric" or whatever, we'll wait. Other wise it's your unsourced opinion, and not germane to the editing of this article, and therefore doesn't belong on this talkpage per WP:NOTAFORUM. And deciding to switch to editing from an IP doesn't help your case any. Heiro 03:45, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
No, it's not acceptable. Just bring in a source that says it's ethnocentrism. We'll include it. Valereee (talk) 03:46, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Of course. Best to let ethnocentrism prevail! Malign an entire country. That is the way on Wikipedia! (talk) 03:50, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Source. It's very simple and easy. Source. Valereee (talk) 03:51, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
It's even more simple. Malign and be horrible against an entire group until there's a source. We get it. After hundreds of years of discrimination, we get it. (talk) 03:57, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
You appear to be in Oklahoma, Braveheart. Valereee (talk) 15:05, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Could still be a true Scotsman. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:42, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
"Scottish person". See Talk:No true Scotsman#Pre-Flew examples. It's not just any old nonsense, it's high grade. Heiro 17:46, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
"To the end of time, no true Scotsman shall ever hear the strains of "Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled," without feeling his inmost soul stirred within him." Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 19:51, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! Valereee (talk) 23:43, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Valereee, that's all greek to me. And I remember an ANI or similar complaint on an editor who used that phrase, it didn't go anywhere. Positively Byzantine, if not Vandalism. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 08:50, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I see what you did there Valereee (talk) 11:51, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The phrase as such parodies Scottish patriotic pride which, when viewed in historical perspective, is a somewhat insensitive taunt, to say the least. I think that much is obvious requiring no more documentation than, say, the wikipedia page on the history of Scotland. As to the degree of umbrage taken by present-day Scots, I cannot and will not speak to it. But we ought not to pretend that the phrase is squeaky clean. I'd say it sort of ranks with "Indian giver". 2A01:CB0C:CD:D800:34F4:C4D7:E406:4142 (talk) 13:10, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I realize persons not from Scotland may not see this as valid, but it should be given consideration. In other words, "No true Scotsman sees this as invalid." For that, I accuse you of offense to the Scottish people.
More seriously, should we begin noting not only that the topic or title of an article is offensive but that some editor is concerned that it might be? On top of that, neither the name of the fallacy nor the example actually expresses anything pejorative. We're turning into a trigger warning culture. Largoplazo (talk) 13:27, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, this is a bridge too far. Neither the fallacy nor the view expressed in the fallacy have anything whatsoever to do with denigrating Scotland. It just as easily could have been called the "no true Englishman" fallacy; it's pure accident that the coiner, Flew, used a Scotsman as an example instead of an Englishman, or a Liechtensteinian, or a Tongan. As for "it sort of ranks with 'Indian giver'", that's absurd. They are not comparable in any way. The latter is a racist assumption of a habit of false gift-giving by an entire set of nations of people (indigenous Americans). Even if the anon's idea that the fallacy has something to do with "Scottish patriotic pride" were correct (it's not), they still wouldn't be comparable. PS: If it said "Scotchman", there could be some kind of point to raise, since the Scots are generally not happy with this old Elizabethanism-through-Victorianism, except for "Scotch" applied to products like Scotch whisky and Scotch meat pies. But even calling the Scots the "Scotch" or "Scotchmen" is not actually a slur, it's just obsolete spelling, like referring to the Manx as "Manks" or the Irish as "Erse", or people from Belarus as "Byelorussian", or Romanians as "Rumanians" (both of the latter of which were still in fairly common usage when I was a kid; this stuff is a moving target like everything else in our language). The fact that someone somewhere for irrational reasons might get pissed off that "no true Scotsman" mentions Scotsmen is really no concern of ours. There is literally nothing that someone somewhere isn't pissed off about for irrational reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:33, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Reliable sources are like gold on Wikipedia. Unsourced assertions routinely get ignored. If you cannot provide a reliable source, then go blog elsewhere. Cullen328 (talk) 05:22, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

  • Going back to the question at hand, I tried to find a source.
I looked up the Oxford Dictionary of English (3rd edition, 2015, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199571123.001.0001), accessible via the WP:LIBRARY at this link. The entry for Scotsman reads, in full, a male native or inhabitant of Scotland, or a man of Scottish descent. No indication that it is derogatory, or vulgar, or anything of the sort.
I search "Scotsman slur" in a general online search. No relevant hits within the first three pages.
I searched "Scotsman" in the scholarly articles published by the Edinburgh University Press ( There were four hits, none of which about the use of the term.
I am certainly open to someone else providing a source, but for now, I would think it is not derogatory except maybe in some very specific contexts.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tigraan (talkcontribs) 14:41, 9 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Gary Curtis ref defines no true S as a subfallacy of the redefinition fallacy. Does wikipedia have an equivalent thereof? (I was going to add this to the article but clearly not with the redlink) 07:12, 9 March 2023 (UTC) (talk) 07:12, 9 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Not every "something fallacy" or "fallacy of whatever" term that some random writer comes up with gains sufficient currency and independent coverage to rise to encyclopedic notice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:35, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Proper or common noun[edit]

I had sentence-cased the "no true Scotsman fallacy" in the lead, consistent with the title. In the last little bit, one user recapitalized it, claiming it's a proper noun, and C.Fred reverted that edit, stating that it wasn't apparent that it's a proper noun. I see no reason why it would be a proper noun. I think it's likely that in running text one might put the "no true Scotsman" part in quotes to demarcate it as a phrase qualifying the word "fallacy":

His argument was an example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

But it isn't a proper name. See List of fallacies: we aren't considering the terms for various fallacies to be proper names. One writes of begging the question, not Begging the Question, etc. Largoplazo (talk) 01:30, 24 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. Carlstak (talk) 03:58, 24 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I would agree as well; I have never seen the names of fallacies capitalized as proper nouns. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:39, 24 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I've seen it occasionally, in the same kind of material that likes to capitalize "Murphy's Law" and "Method Acting" instead of writing Murphy's law and method acting. It's just a typical "capitalize everything that seems significant to me" bad habit, covered by MOS:SIGCAPS in general and MOS:DOCTCAPS more specifically. Just because an idea has one or more conventional names doesn't make them proper nouns, and Wikipedia doesn't capitalize something unless reliable sources near-uniformly capitalize it (like the word Scotsman).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:39, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]


The great Igor Stravinsky said: "Instinct is infallible. If it leads us astray, it is no longer instinct." I have no idea if he was joking or "comitted" the fallacy. 2A01:CB0C:CD:D800:34F4:C4D7:E406:4142 (talk) 13:04, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

This would not be a good quote to add to the page. It's kinda-sorta similar to "no true Scotsman", but going much further. Stravinsky is not saying that instinct that leads us astray is not "true" instinct, trying to sweep a contradictory outlier under the rug by introducing a narrower (but subjective) variant term. Stravinsky was categorically denying that something you claim to be instinct which led you astray in any way can be instinct at all, which is more analogous to the skeptical Scotsman when confronted with a bad-acting fellow countryman denying that the other party could even be from Scotland and must be an immigrant posing as a Scotsman, or perhaps a devil in human disguise. Stravinsky's assertion is utterly nonsensical to begin with. Our instincts "lead us astray" probably more than anything else. Aside from just basic counter-factuality, Stavinsky was moving rhetorically toward an extreme version of fallacy of equivocation, redefining the entire concept of instinct to exclude a vast class of anything that does not produce positive results, which does not agree with anyone else's definition of the term. "No true Scotsman" (which tries to introduce a narrower sub-term and definition, not redefine the whole concept "Scotsman") is related to equivocation, but is a definition-narrowing ploy, not a defintion-replacement ploy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:10, 29 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
OK, perhaps, I agree that S seems to create more ontological havoc then in the typical example. He does say "no longer" though, suggesting he might not have agreed with your analysis.
Here is another fun example taken from Zen Buddhism which delights in this sort of game:
A monk asked Seijo: "I understand that a Buddha who lived before recorded history sat in meditation for ten cycles of existence and could not realize the highest truth, and so could not become fully emancipated. Why was this so?"
Seijo replied: "Your question is self-explanatory."
The monk asked: "Since the Buddha was meditating, why could he not fulfill Buddhahood?"
Seijo said: "He was not a Buddha." 2A01:CB0C:1704:9A00:95EF:75ED:76A8:D7EE (talk) 16:46, 30 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]