Evaluating the Meta-Slope: Is there a Slippery Slope Argument against Slippery Slope Arguments?
Slippery slope arguments (SSAs) have often been viewed as inherently weak arguments, to be classified together with traditional fallacies of reasoning and argumentation such as circular arguments and arguments from ignorance. Over the last two decades several philosophers have taken a kinder view, often providing historical examples of the kind of gradual change on which slippery slope arguments rely. Against this background, Enoch (2001, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies21(4), 629–647) presented a novel argument against SSA use that itself invokes a slippery slope. Specifically, he argued that the very reasons that can make SSAs strong arguments mean that we should be poor at abiding by the distinction between good and bad SSAs, making SSAs inherently undesirable. We argue that Enoch’s meta-level SSA fails on both conceptual and empirical grounds.
Keywordsslippery slope arguments fallacies psychology philosophy argument strength
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