philosophy 211 SLIPPERY SLOPE

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This is an issue that has arisen before in other contexts but it's worth getting explicit about. What is "slippery slope" argument, and how would it be relevant, or not, to issue of euthanasia?

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Oct 16th, 2017

In logic and critical thinking, a slippery slope is a logical device, but it is usually known under its fallacious form, in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the inevitability of the event in question.

The argument takes on one of various semantically forms:

  • In the classical form, the arguer suggests that making a move in a particular direction starts something on a path down a "slippery slope". Having started down the metaphorical slope, it will continue to slide in the same direction (the arguer usually sees the direction as a negative direction).
  • Modern usage includes a logically valid form, in which a minor action causes a significant impact through a long chain of logical relationships. Note that establishing this chain of logical implication (or quantifying the relevant probabilities) makes this form logically valid. The slippery slope argument remains a fallacy if such a chain is not established
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Mar 15th, 2015

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