I’m not a True Scotsman

There is a reason I detest arguments on twitter.

I’ve stated my very narrow definition of feminism in “I’m still a feminist and so are you” and, it is the definition I use when referring to feminism. I cannot speak for anyone else’s use of the term feminism no more than a certain charlatan can claim to be a physicist– In other words when you have a grassroots term and there is no copyright on popular terms, the term becomes semantically diffuse. Does this means we should give up the term feminism and conclude it’s usefulness is over? This does seem a sensible solution at first glance until one realises that any term, unless backed by an organisation with a well defined statement of purpose, is also going to become useless. The solution I have chosen for myself is to define what exactly I mean by feminism and use the term accordingly. I readily admit that many people use the term feminist in other ways and, since I do not own the word I will reserve the right to disagree with their views.

Now as to the charge of “No true Scotsman”, anyone who has studied logical fallacies notes that the charge is only valid when a term is not rigidly defined and held to in the first place. The logical fallacy comes up because of the propensity of some groups to change a definition on the fly as to exclude people from a group when those people damage the reputation of a group. It is also an invalid charge it is admitted that some people who call themselves feminists using my definition are going to be nasty people, which I do. I also admit it is also possible all men with moustaches are evil since Hitler had a moustache. Logical fallacies are fun aren’t they?

I’m not a True Scotsman even though my last name is Bruce, because my family 7 generations or so back immigrated from Northern Ireland to Canada. I’m guessing they did so to get away from religious bigotry since the Robert Bruce that emigrated was married to a Mary Kennedy.



2 thoughts on “I’m not a True Scotsman

  1. To be fair, it wasn’t your position which I referred to under the no true Scotsman banner. It was more the other parties position and some others I’ve seen abound. This Storify exemplifies the position: https://storify.com/SubManUSN/feminism-discussion-101. You at least openly admit the term is diffuse. I have no issue with those whose behavior matches the definition of feminism you use.

    Cheers, Diane!

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