The pattern:

  • When specific members of the Other Group display reprehensible behavior, they are cited as evidence that the Other Group as a whole is reprehensible.

  • When specific members of My Group display reprehensible behavior, they are dismissed as outliers who do not represent My Group as a whole.

The second part is clearly the No True Scotsman fallacy, and the first one is just a basic generalization. I was wondering if there was a name for this specific (and very frequently used) combination.

  • 3
    A lot of people think anytime someone says, "he's not a true X", then they are committing the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, but that's not the case. The pivotal point of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy is that there is a universally acknowledge criterion for calling someone a Scotsman, and the person committing the fallacy is rejecting that criterion because it is inconvenient for his position. When the criteria for membership in a group are vague and ill-defined, then the fact that you think someone is an X and the other person disagrees is not a sign of a fallacy. Aug 3, 2021 at 19:08
  • I don't think the behavior you describe is a fallacy; it's simple hypocrisy. Aug 3, 2021 at 19:09

3 Answers 3


That might be a Double standard or Hypocrisy.

A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for situations that are, in principle, the same.

Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another or the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.

Also the point about fallacies is to find out that something is wrong with an argument and narrow down where the problem in the reasoning lies. It's not to give the fallacy a fancy name...

Like the problem with the "No true Scotsman"-fallacy is that you retroactively change the definition.

Like if you have a definition: "All true Scotsman are born and raised in Scotland", then Brian from Ohio who had Scottish great-grandparents is not a true Scotsman. However if you'd argue that Andrew from Aberdeen is not a true Scotsman because he doesn't eat haggis. Then this is in so far fallacious his eating habits have no barring on his Scottishness as far as the definition is concerned.

So to avoid that being a fallacy you'd had to have stated beforehand (and found agreement) what constitutes a true Scotsman.

Also the nature of the group might matter quite significantly as to whether it is or isn't a double standard or a hypocrisy. Like did the membership comes before the purpose of the group, idk friends or family where the bond comes before any explicit purpose of the group. Or are you talking about a club, where the purpose of the group is laid out before there are any members or is it an informal group like "bearded people" where obviously a bearded guy who shaves clean is no longer a bearded guy. Likewise if your club makes it their raison d'être to not act reprehensible then you've more of a claim to expel them on the basis of that then if they are just part of a group of friends where that is not a necessary condition for membership.


Part 1 seems to be a 'Fallacy of Composition', defined by logicallfallacious.com as "Inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole".

I'm not aware of any informal names for combined fallacies. The good news is, you have scope to invent one.

  • Comment: Composition is fallacy only in certain cases. It is not a fallacy always and under any circumstances
    – Nikos M.
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:24
  • Example: Each part of my phone is made up of atoms and energy, thus my whole phone is made up of atoms and energy.
    – Nikos M.
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:26
  • The fact that the use of the fallacy can result in a correct conclusion does not alter the fact it is a fallacy. Also, the knowledge that a whole phone consists of atoms is essentially the same as knowing that each part of the phone is made up of atoms. 'Each part' is equuvalent to 'whole'. A composition fallacy would exist if you concluded that the whole phone consists of atoms because the screen consists of atoms. Your conclusion would be correct, but the process remains fallacious. Sep 30, 2022 at 14:36
  • No, the point is, it is not a fallacy. A fallacy by definition is always wrong and false. The composition argument is not of such nature.
    – Nikos M.
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:40
  • As pointed out by wikipedia there are cases where similar arguments to mine are fallacious, but the argument in nature is not fallacious. In fact it has to be proven fallacious. The "fallacy" is used to point out that it is not always correct, not that it is always false.
    – Nikos M.
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:42

This is part of in-group favoritism/out-group negativity. Specifically it is the ultimate attribution error.

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