Consequentialism and the slippery slope: A response to Clark

Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2):213–220 (2000)
Abstract
Michael Clark has recently argued that the slippery slope argument against voluntary euthanasia is ‘entirely consequentialist’ and that its use to justify continued prohibition of voluntary euthanasia involves a failure to treat patients who request assistance in ending their lives as ends in themselves. This article agues that in fact the slippery slope is consistent with most forms of deontology, and that it need not involve any violation of the principle that people should be treated as ends, depending upon how that principle is construed. It is concluded that supporters of voluntary euthanasia cannot dismiss the slippery slope argument on the basis of deontological principles but must take seriously the consequences that it postulates and engage in factual argument about their likely extent and about the likely effectiveness of any proposed safeguards.
Keywords consequentialism  slippery slope argument
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