The book is devoted to the so called slippery slope arguments. The very arguments,
often expressed during the debates concerning important and controversial
ethical and social issues (among others the right to abortion and euthanasia,
genetic engineering, access to illegal drugs, freedom of speech and its limitations),
usually show how the approval of an ostensibly innocent point of view or the execution
of a non-threatening action may become the first step on the way to the
effect that is hard to accept.
Slippery slope arguments evoke many discussions among logicians and philosophers
investigating them. While some of them regard the very arguments
as warnings demanding a serious treatment, others treat them as eristic tricks
not worth a lot. This book constitutes an attempt to answer the questions what
the slippery slope arguments really are and what their real value is. Apart from
a “slippery slope” referred to in the title, the arguments considered as related are
thoroughly analysed: arguments from analogy, ad consequentiam arguments, ad
absurdum arguments, as well as sorites paradox, known since ancient times.
Researching real arguments such as the ones presented in the work requires
specific tools. The methods proposed by the traditional formal logic prove useless
to reach this aim. Thus, the analysis of the arguments included in the book was
conducted on the basis of the tools worked out within the scope of informal logic
— a relatively young research area intensively developing since the second half
of the 20th century.