No true Scotsman fallacy

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m (Sorry, noticed an error in the example section and just changed it to christians accusing others "who does a bad deed is a 'true Christian'" to "who does a bad deed isn't a 'true Christian'".)
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'''"No true Scotsman"''' is story used to illustrate a very common [[Fallacy|fallacious]] argument, often used by [[Apologist|apologists]] to take advantage of the ambiguity of definitions of a certain key word (or words) in their argument.
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'''"No true Scotsman"''' is a story used to illustrate a very common [[Fallacy|fallacious]] argument, often used by [[Apologist|apologists]] to take advantage of the ambiguity of a definition of a certain key word (or words) in their argument.
  
 
The classic story goes something like this:
 
The classic story goes something like this:
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:'''Scotsman A:''' "Aye... but no '''true''' Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge."
 
:'''Scotsman A:''' "Aye... but no '''true''' Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge."
  
The implication is that Angus is not a true Scotsman, despite the fact that he is from Scotland.  The fallacy lies in redefining the word "Scotsman" in order to exclude those who put sugar in his porridge.
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The implication is that Angus is not a true Scotsman, despite the fact that he is from Scotland.  The fallacy lies in redefining the word "Scotsman" in order to exclude those who put sugar in their porridge.
  
Similarly, [[apologists]] argue that [[Christian]]s are good people by categorically denying that anyone who does a bad deed isn't a "true Christian".  The lack of a generally accepted definition of "Christian" allows apologists to redefine the word to fit their arguments.  For this reason, many self-professed Christians who commit bad deeds are excluded from the group by apologists.
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Similarly, [[apologists]] argue that [[Christian]]s are good people by categorically denying that anyone who does a bad deed is a "true Christian".  The lack of a generally accepted definition of "Christian" allows apologists to redefine the word to fit their arguments.  For this reason, many self-professed Christians who commit bad deeds are excluded from the group by apologists.
  
Since the Scotsman fallacy relies on ambiguity in the definition of the word Christian, it is a form of [[equivocation]].
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Since the Scotsman fallacy relies on ambiguity in the definition of the word "Christian", it is a form of [[equivocation]].
  
 
[[Category: Logical fallacies]]
 
[[Category: Logical fallacies]]

Revision as of 10:14, 24 May 2010

"No true Scotsman" is a story used to illustrate a very common fallacious argument, often used by apologists to take advantage of the ambiguity of a definition of a certain key word (or words) in their argument.

The classic story goes something like this:

Scotsman A: "You know, laddie, no Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge."
Scotsman B: "Is that so? I seem to recall my cousin Angus puts sugar in his porridge"
Scotsman A: "Aye... but no true Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge."

The implication is that Angus is not a true Scotsman, despite the fact that he is from Scotland. The fallacy lies in redefining the word "Scotsman" in order to exclude those who put sugar in their porridge.

Similarly, apologists argue that Christians are good people by categorically denying that anyone who does a bad deed is a "true Christian". The lack of a generally accepted definition of "Christian" allows apologists to redefine the word to fit their arguments. For this reason, many self-professed Christians who commit bad deeds are excluded from the group by apologists.

Since the Scotsman fallacy relies on ambiguity in the definition of the word "Christian", it is a form of equivocation.

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