Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fallacy: Slippery Slope (The Camel's Nose)

The fact that I even have a need to Google different types of fallacies should be evidence enough that there is serious unchecked insanity in my life - and not all of it is directly doping related! If I had my druthers, I would just tell the idiots who come at me with these fallacies to go eff themselves, but nowadays the level of scrutiny that I'm subjected to is...too great. How I long to be but a dumb, pathetic bike racer hiding out in Europe.

Alas, by virtue of the definition, the arguments I face daily are often times devoid of logic and thus no response is necessary (other than to point out that my interlocutors are fucking insane), but intellectual curiosity and a man-crush on Sun Tzu leads me to hope to better understand my enemy by researching his preferred method of attack. To that end:

The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:

1. Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

Examples of Slippery Slope
  • "We have to stop the tuition increase! The next thing you know, they'll be charging $40,000 a semester!"
  • "The US shouldn't get involved militarily in other countries. Once the government sends in a few troops, it will then send in thousands to die."
  • "You can never give anyone a break. If you do, they'll walk all over you."
  • "We've got to stop them from banning pornography. Once they start banning one form of literature, they will never stop. Next thing you know, they will be burning all the books!"

1 comment:

  1. There is a wonderful (but old) book called Fads and Fallacies, you will enjoy! Can't tell if that's a slippery slope but will let you decide in retrospect.


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