In argumentation and debate, it is important that an argument is based on sound reasoning. However, it is all too easy to allow emotions or biases to cloud our judgment, leading us to make invalid arguments.
These are known as fallacies, and they can be extremely difficult to spot in our arguments. Hence, it is important to be aware of the most common fallacies to avoid them in our writing.
In informal logic and rhetoric, the slippery slope is a fallacy often used in debate. So let’s learn more about this fallacy and how you can identify it in an argument. In this blog, we have presented the slippery slope fallacy with definition and examples to improve your understanding.
What Is A Slippery Slope Fallacy?
A slippery slope argument asserts that a particular step necessarily will lead to a chain reaction with negative outcomes. This fallacy occurs when we assume that one event will trigger a sequence of events without evidence for why it should be the case.
For example, someone may argue that if we allow same-sex couples to marry, soon everyone will be allowed to marry their pets. This is logically fallacious, as it relies on the slippery logic to be persuasive.
It is a type of the wrong attribution of cause and effect. Someone claims that a specific step will lead to negative results but do not provide enough evidence or warrant.
When arguing against a position, this fallacy can be difficult to spot. But it’s important to be able to identify it, so you can avoid using it in your own arguments.
How to Spot the Slippery Slope Fallacy?
There are a few things to look out for when trying to spot the slippery slope fallacy:
-Unjustified causal claims that one event will lead to another, usually negative, event
-A chain of events that is unlikely to happen
-A lack of evidence to support claims that one event will lead to another
Moreover, a slippery slope argument has four components:
(1) A proposal for a course of action.
(2) An undesirable or negative consequence.
(3) An assumption that allowing the action will lead to an undesirable outcome in the future.
(4) The rejection of the initial proposal.
If you see any of these characteristics in an argument, you know it is a slippery slope.
Slippery Slope Fallacy Examples
Let’s look at an example of the slippery slope fallacy in action.
Imagine you’re writing an argumentative essay about whether or not schools should start later in the morning. You might come across an opposing view that sounds like the following:
“If we start school later in the morning, then kids will just stay up later at night and end up sleep-deprived.”
This claim is a slippery slope fallacy, asserting that one event (starting school later) will cause another (kids staying up later). Moreover, the claim is made without providing any evidence for why this would be the case.
In reality, many factors contribute to how late kids stay up at night. Starting school later would not necessarily be the primary cause.
Let’s take a look at more examples of slippery slope arguments:
- If we allow refugees into our country, then terrorists will surely follow.
- If we don’t approve of the president’s plan, then the country will fall into chaos.
- If we don’t censor the internet, then our children will be exposed to pornography and violence.
- If we don’t start imposing stricter gun control laws, then mass shootings will continue to occur.
- If we don’t start drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, America’s dependence on foreign oil will continue to grow.
- If taxes are raised too high, people will stop working and the economy will collapse.
- If we legalize marijuana, then more people will want to use it. Eventually, we’ll have an entire population of drug users.
All these are examples of the slippery slope. Until and unless evidence is presented to establish a cause-effect relationship, these arguments remain fallacious.
How to Avoid the Slippery Slope Fallacy?
Now that you know how to spot the slippery slope fallacy, you can avoid committing it in your writing.
If you find yourself arguing about a series of events happening in succession, take a step back and reevaluate your claim. Make sure you can back up your claims with concrete evidence before moving forward.
The best way to avoid using the slippery slope is to perform proper research. Find appropriate evidence, warrant, and backing for all your claims.
By being conscious of the slippery slope fallacy, you can make arguments that are clear, convincing, and free of fallacies!
The slippery slope can be difficult to spot, but once you know what to Look For, it becomes easier to identify. To avoid committing this logical error yourself, make sure to have concrete evidence to back up any claims of causality.
In this blog, you have learned about the slippery slope fallacy. With practice spotting and avoiding The slippery slope fallacy, you can make clear and convincing arguments!
Hello, everyone! I am Cathy A. and I am the Chief Author and Editor at WriteArgumentativeEssays.com. I overlook all the guides and blogs being written on the website about argumentative essay writing.