A `slippery slope argument' is a kind of argument which warns you that, if you take a first step, you will find yourself caught up in a sequence of consequences from which you will be unable to extricate yourself, and that eventually you will end up speeding ever faster towards some disastrous outcome. Many textbooks on informal logic and critical thinking treat the slippery slope argument as a fallacy. Douglas Walton argues that slippery slope arguments can be
used correctly in some cases as a reasonable type of argument to shift a burden of proof in a critical discussion, while in other cases they are used incorrectly. In the four central chapters he
identifies and analyses four types of slippery slope argument. In each chapter he presents guidelines that show how each type of slippery slope argument can be used correctly or incorrectly, using over fifty case studies of argumentation on controversial issues. These include abortion, medical research on human embryos, euthanasia, the decriminalization of marijuana, pornography and censorship, and whether or not the burning of the American flag should be banned.
`This is an enjoyable, lively book, very easy to read, full of interesting examples, on an extremely important subject.'
Pragmatics & Cognition Vol 1 (2) 1993
`Walton's book has the great merit of including a wide variety of credible, complex, and often striking examples of the kinds of arguments he wants to examine ... intelligent and thought-provoking book.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`the author's analysis ... is precise and thorough and lawyers, with their persistent recourse to the slippery slope, could derive benefit from this examination of the strengths, weaknesses and varied uses of this species of argument.'
Cambridge Law Journal
'A welcome addition to the list of Walton's works on fallacies and practical reasoning. The study should appeal to a wide audience.'
H.C. Byerly, University of Arizona, Choice, Mar '93
'Walton offers insightful diagnostics of the success and failure of certain kinds of slippery slopes. The text is lucidly and entertainingly written, usefully divided up into titled subsections for easy reference ... an important new contribution to the growing literature on informal logic and practical reasoning.'
Dale Jacquette, The Pennsylvania State University, History and Philosophy of Logic, 14 (1993)
`His fourfold classification of slippery slope arguments combined with his admirable blending of a theoretical account of slopes with a practical guide to their criticism makes his work an important contribution to the study of informal logic. Walton's monograph is equally indispensable for anyone who teaches critical thinking.'
Introduction and perspectives; The sorites slippery slope argument; The causal slippery slope argument; The precedent slippery slope argument; The full slippery slope argument; Analysis of the dialectical structure of slippery slope arguments; Practical advice on tactics
Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy
Number Of Pages: 310
Published: 19th March 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.9 x 14.7
Weight (kg): 0.51