The standing is slippery

Philosophy 79 (4):553-572 (2004)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper is a critical examination of the so-called slippery slope argument for the conservative position on abortion. The argument was discussed in the philosophic literature some time back, but has since fallen into disfavor. The argument is first exposed and a general objection to it is advanced, then rebutted. Rosalind Hursthouse's more detailed and stronger objection is next aired, but also found less than convincing. In the course of discussing her objection, the correct form of the argument is identified, and it's noted that rejection of the argument requires finding fault with its inductive premise. That, in turn, requires either (a) identifying and defending a cutoff point other than conception, or (b) not identifying a cutoff point but directly attacking the argument's conclusion. As far as (a) is concerned, all except one alternative cutoff point have severe problems that have been well discussed in the literature. The one that doesn't, the appearance of the ‘primitive streak’, is examined in detailed, but ultimately rejected. As for (b), five different grounds for rejecting the conclusion are identified and discussed, but none is found plausible. Variations on the slippery slope argument, concerning different conclusions that it may have, are then distinguished, related to each other, and critically discussed, and the paper ends with some cautionary remarks about the defense of the argument tendered.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,346

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Slippery Slope Arguments.Douglas N. Walton - 1992 - Oxford University Press.
Consequentialism and the slippery slope: A response to Clark.Jonathan Hughes - 2000 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2):213–220.
Debunking the slippery slope argument against human germ-line Gene therapy.David Resnik - 1994 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (1):23-40.
Arguing along the slippery slope of human embryo research.Jeanne Salmon Freeman - 1996 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 21 (1):61-81.
Cultural treasures and slippery slopes.Richard Joyce - 2003 - Public Affairs Quarterly 17 (1):1-16.
Human gene therapy and the slippery slope argument.Veikko Launis - 2002 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 5 (2):169-179.


Added to PP

56 (#212,861)

6 months
1 (#450,993)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael J. Wreen
Marquette University

Citations of this work

On Slippery Slopes.Philip E. Devine - 2018 - Philosophy 93 (3):375-393.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references