The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fallacy: Slippery Slope

Also Known as: The Camel's Nose.

Description of Slippery Slope

The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:

  1. Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
  2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

Examples of Slippery Slope

  1. "We have to stop the tuition increase! The next thing you know, they'll be charging $40,000 a semester!"

  2. "The US shouldn't get involved militarily in other countries. Once the government sends in a few troops, it will then send in thousands to die."

  3. "You can never give anyone a break. If you do, they'll walk all over you."

  4. "We've got to stop them from banning pornography. Once they start banning one form of literature, they will never stop. Next thing you know, they will be burning all the books!"

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