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Slippery Slope

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Slippery Slope

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

The slippery slope is a series of statements that have a superficial connection with one another, and which lead into what is often a rather far-fetched conclusion.

Use it when you are in relatively unsophisticated company where such obvious lack of logic will go unchallenged. In more thoughtful company, you will need a more subtle approach.

Example

If we ban smoking, then people will start taking soft drugs and then move onto hard drugs, and the crime rate will go up and up. We should therefore prevent crime by allowing smoking.

Discussion

The slippery slope is particularly obvious in its lack of real reason, yet it appears surprisingly often. It is often used in emotional situations where careful thought is replaced by an irrational need for illogical proof and justification.

This fallacy is often used by politicians. This is possibly because they tend to be risk-averse, and the slippery slope seems like a good way of pointing out dangers ('It'll all end in tears!').

Classification

Assumptive, Causal

Also known as

Absurd Extrapolation

See also

Emotion and decision, Generalization, Butterfly Logic

 

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