It may not be true that the future will be like the past; the future could be different. [21]:252, Given the disagreement over what constitutes a genuine slippery slope argument, it is to be expected that there are differences in the way they are defined. The exact way to respond to a slippery slope argument depends on the kind of slippery slope it is and what the specifics of the argument are. There is actually evidence that universal health care schemes are good for the economy and that welfare programs do not discourage people from looking for work. "(John Keown, quoted by Robert Young in Medically Assisted Death. "[24]:1134 A similar conclusion was reached by Corner et al., who after investigating the psychological mechanism of the slippery slope argument say, "Despite their philosophical notoriety, SSAs are used (and seem to be accepted) in a wide variety of practical contexts. "(William Safire, "The Computer Tattoo." Argument: “If we provide free healthcare then where does it stop? One way to do this might be to point out how slippery slope arguments can often be applied in both directions of an issue. They say, "Although there is no paradigm case of the slippery slope argument, there are characteristic features of all such arguments. The strength of such an argument depends on the warrant, i.e. Lode, having claimed that SSAs are not a single class of arguments whose members all share the same form, nevertheless goes on to suggest the following common features.[20]. Causal slippery slopes can be fallacious when there is little evidence to support the idea that one event will cause another and so on. A slippery slope fallacy is a fallacious pattern of reasoning that claims that allowing some small event now will eventually culminate in a significant and (usually) negative final effect later. So, for example, The metaphor of the "slippery slope" dates back at least to Cicero's essay Laelius de Amicitia (XII.41). Precedential slippery slopes are usually combined with all-or-nothing thinking and often start by assuming a false dichotomy between two options. Slippery Slope Fallacy. In this fallacy, a person makes a claim that one event leads to another event and so on until we come to some awful conclusion. What matters is the reason for granting the exception. Much is made of the use of passports, Social Security cards and driver's licenses as 'preferred' forms of identification, but anyone who takes the trouble to read this legislation can see that the disclaimers are intended to help the medicine go down. "(James Graff, "The Week." In logic and critical thinking textbooks, slippery slopes and slippery slope arguments are normally discussed as a form of fallacy, although there may be an acknowledgement that non-fallacious forms of the argument can also exist.[7]:273–311. Also, if you're interested in learning about other types of fallacies, here's our in-depth look at the straw man fallacy. Counterargument: This causal/precedential slippery slope pattern is commonly seen in arguments about whether we should increase or decrease taxes. It is acknowledged that non-fallacious forms of the argument can exist given the proper rigor of evidence-based conclusions between each step. Precedential-style slope arguments might be valid in specific contexts (e.g. "[24]:1030–1031, Volokh concludes by claiming that the analysis in his article "implicitly rebuts the argument that slippery slope arguments are inherently logically fallacious: the claim that A's will inevitably lead to B's as a matter of logical compulsion might be mistaken, but the more modest claim that A's may make B's more likely seems plausible. In other words, the argument pattern fails if there is little reason to think that A will lead to B, or that B will lead C, and so on. After all, taxes and forms of private property have coexisted in pretty much every single society throughout history. He enjoys playing video games and researching the latest trends in science and technology. If possible, present a counterexample to show your opponent’s logic is flawed. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t watch our footing. All of these metaphors suggest that allowing one practice or policy could lead us to allow a series of other practices or policies. The core of the slippery slope argument is that a specific decision under debate is likely to result in unintended consequences. Sometimes exceptions to rules are reasonable and will not set a precedent for disassembling the rules. Indeed, given the endless parade of imagined horribles one could conjure up for any policy decision, the slippery slope can easily become an argument for doing nothing at all. legal sphere) where precedent plays an integral role in making decisions. The next thing you know, we will have people wanting to marry animals and inanimate objects. If I flunk out entirely then my entire future is ruined and I will never be able to get a good job and provide for a family!”. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Circular Reasoning Definition and Examples.