Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"A dance for all true Scotsmen, followers of St. Knickerless!" ~John Drewry, 2000
Celebrate the history of underwear today, or if you're a "True Scotsman" (a humorous term for the wearing of a kilt without anything on underneath) the lack the it! This dance was inspired by an exhibit at the Tartans Museum of Keith, Scotland, which houses an exhibit containing the highland dress and tattered tartan undergarments of Queen Victoria's stalwart highland attendant, John Brown! In the world of philosophy, an offshoot of the "True Scotsman" expression has made its way into a designation for an informal fallacy called "No True Scotsman." The "No True Scotsman" (NTS) concept was introduced in 1975 by British Philosopher Anthony Flew, in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample. For example: Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge." Person A: "Ah, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." So whether it's salt on your porridge or going regimental ... have at it.
Today is Underwear Day! From the loincloth to lingerie, underwear has a deep fascinating cultural history with diverse influences.
Rather than ponder semi-lasciviously all things lacy for the ladies, we instead focus on the dignity of the kilt and the age old question of what is traditionally worn underneath, namely, the oft distinct absence of underwear.
"True Scotsman" is a humorous term used for a man wearing a kilt without undergarments.
Kilts have been traditionally worn without undergarments since their use as part of Scottish military uniform, leading to the invention of such expressions as "going regimental" or "military practice" for wearing no underwear.
On the Western Front during the First World War, some sergeant majors (reportedly) had mirrors tied to the end of golf clubs or walking sticks to inspect up and under the kilt at parade inspection. However, by 1940 the kilt was retired from combat because of the vulnerability of bare skin to chemical agents, although it was retained as the formal dress uniform of the regiments.
In the world of philosophy, an offshoot of the "True Scotsman" expression has made its way into a logical term for an informal fallacy called "No True Scotsman." The "No True Scotsman" (NTS) concept was introduced in 1975 by British Philosopher Anthony Flew, to illustrate an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.
When faced with a counter example to a universal claim ("no Scotsman would do such a thing"), rather than denying the counter example or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.
"No true Scotsman would do such a thing," in this case would mean that those who perform that action are not part of the group, and thus criticism of that action is not criticism of the group.
The following is a simplified rendition of the fallacy to illustrate:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge!"
Person A: "Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
NTS can be thought of as a form of inverted cherry picking, whereupon, instead of selecting favourable examples, unfavourable ones are rejected.