Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Roberto fumagalli (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca), Slipping on Slippery Slope Arguments, 34 (4) Bioethics 412 (2020):
Slippery slope arguments (SSAs) are used in a wide range of philosophical debates, but are often dismissed as empirically ill‐founded and logically fallacious. In particular, leading authors put forward a meta‐SSA which points to instances of empirically ill‐founded and logically fallacious SSAs and to the alleged existence of a slippery slope leading to such SSAs to demonstrate that people should avoid using SSAs altogether. In this paper, I examine these prominent calls against using SSAs and argue that such calls do not withstand scrutiny. I then identify several types of mechanisms leading to slippery slopes in real‐life contexts to demonstrate that both the strength of SSAs and the justifiability of using SSAs are best assessed on a case‐by‐case basis. This result does not exempt the proponents of SSAs from the task of vindicating their use of SSAs. However, if correct, it undermines the often‐made claim that people should avoid using SSAs altogether.