Living on a slippery slope

Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):475 - 499 (2005)
Abstract
Our actions, individually and collectively, inevitably affect others, ourselves, and our institutions. They shape the people we become and the kind of world we inhabit. Sometimes those consequences are positive, a giant leap for moral humankind. Other times they are morally regressive. This propensity of current actions to shape the future is morally important. But slippery slope arguments are a poor way to capture it. That is not to say we can never develop cogent slippery slope arguments. Nonetheless, given their most common usage, it would be prudent to avoid them in moral and political debate. They are often fallacious and have often been used for ill. They are normally used to defend the moral status quo. Even when they are cogent, we can always find an alternate way to capture their insights. Finally, by accepting that the moral roads on which we travel are slippery, we become better able to successfully navigate them.
Keywords consistency  free speech  habit  inductive generalization  negative consequentialist argument  physician-assisted suicide  risk  slippery slope  virtues
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