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The Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope

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Abstract

We've all made plenty of slippery slope arguments in our day, and we've all pooh-poohed plenty. Do these arguments make sense, and, if so, when? This article tries to go behind the metaphor of the slippery slope to the mechanisms by which one step today may make the next step more likely tomorrow. "Slippery slopes," I argue, can operate through several distinct mechanisms, which need to be discussed separately. And these mechanisms, it turns out, relate to rational ignorance, heuristics, path-dependence, the expressive effect of law, and multi-peaked preferences - important subjects that have received extensive attention recently, but that have not so far been linked to the slippery slope question. I suggest that slippery slopes may indeed sometimes happen (though they aren't logically inevitable). The flip response that "if we can draw a line today, we'll be able to draw the line tomorrow" is correct only if decisionmakers have firm and single-peaked preferences, and unbounded rationality. In the real world, where these conditions don't always hold, one decision can indeed help grease the slope to another, in various ways. And this can happen not just with judicial decisions - where slippery slopes relate in complex ways to the system of precedent - but also with legislative ones, where precedent is not supposed to play a formal role. Understanding the full range of slippery slope mechanisms can help us evaluate the risk of slippage, craft better arguments related to this risk, and perhaps minimize this risk.

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... The concern of the slippery slope is that the policy continuum will act like a row of dominos and you must oppose any change because it will start the process of the dominoes falling (Haigh et al. 2016). Once the first policy is adopted, then norms change (Kreitzer et al. 2014) which makes it easier to pass more extreme policies until an undesirable end state is reached (Volokh 2003). ...
... Although gun control has often been the focus of deliberate slippery slope framing, we note that this is not the only issue susceptible to this line of reasoning. Voluntary euthanasia (Verbakel and Jaspers 2010) and abortion (Volokh 2003) are just two examples of issue areas where fears of slippery slopes have affected public support for new policies. Moreover, our research more broadly underscores the important role that trust can play when policies do become framed as slippery slope worries. ...
... While we illustrate the influence of the slippery slope fear on gun control, slippery slope arguments are made in a variety of policy domains including gay marriage (Sheff 2011), abortion (Volokh 2003), euthanasia / death with dignity (Lewis 2007), and gene editing (Harris 2015). Slippery slope arguments are often dismissed as rhetorical devices with dubious logic (Enoch 2001), but our paper suggests that voters may internalize the possibility that policies may increase in restrictiveness. ...
Article
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Declining trust in government is often cited as the cause of declining support for policies that require ideological sacrifices. Yet pivotal to the effect of trust is the broader political context, which can vary over time. In a context of deep partisan divisions, for individuals who do not trust the government, even small ideological costs can signal the beginning of a process that leads to much larger ideological costs down the line—a process akin to a “slippery slope.” We demonstrate the conditional relationship between partisan divides, governmental trust, and support for policy through empirical tests that focus on the case of gun control. We first show that the effect of trust in government on conservatives’ gun control attitudes increases as polarization over the issue grows. We then use a continuum of gun control policies to demonstrate that the effect of trust on policy support can follow a slippery slope structure during polarized points.
... The conclusion people are invited to infer is that we should not legalize voluntary euthanasia and we should not allow gay marriage by pointing out the possible undesirable consequences of taking these actions. The role of SSAs in legal and bio-ethical reasoning, and in public policy discussions more generally, has been questioned and widely debated (e.g., Van der Burg, 1991;Volokh, 2003;Walton, 1992a). In this study we focus on the fact that SSAs, 'while … not necessarily illicit, [are] almost invariably proposed in highly charged and emotive areas' (Dupré, 2007, p. 84). ...
... The SSA is the argument that taking an appealing or advantageous decision A will increase the likelihood of a disagreeable or detrimental action C, the consequence, in the future (Volokh, 2003). The SSA is distinct from other consequentialist arguments because there is an implicit belief that allowing the initial action will lead to a re-evaluation of the desirability of the consequential outcome (Corner et al., 2011), which will be considered more permissible. ...
... The former is intuitively a better SSA than the latter (Corner et al., 2011). Volokh (2003) argued that SSAs cannot be dismissed as illogical or irrational and has provided a framework showing how they function in legal analysis. Similarly, Lode (1999) has argued that the context within which an SSA is invoked affects the strength of the argument, an idea we develop in the next section from a Bayesian perspective. ...
Chapter
Book synopsis: The interaction between emotion and cognition is a fundamental issue which has only recently been reintroduced as a legitimate object of study in experimental psychology. This book examines the significant impact that affective processes have on reasoning, and demonstrates how emotional reasoning cannot simply be equated with faulty reasoning. Emotion and Reasoning presents contributions from leading researchers from a variety of disciplines, including experimental cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, clinical neuropsychology, and experimental psychopathology. The opening chapters consider how emotions affect reasoning processes in individuals living with psychopathology. A second section focuses upon experimental investigations of emotion and basic reasoning processes, and a final section explores the physiological bases of emotion-reasoning interaction. Together, the chapters in this volume provide a multidisciplinary overview of key topics on emotion and reasoning, and a survey of recent research in this area. Emotion and Reasoning will be of great interest to advanced students, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, and affective neuroscience.
... The alleged danger lurking on the slippery slope is, therefore, the fear that a presently unacceptable proposal (B) will (by any number of psychological processes -see, e.g. Volokh, 2003) in the future be re-evaluated as acceptable. If we withhold the right of free speech from a neo-Nazi organisation, what will prevent us from censoring legitimate political dissent in the future? ...
... Yet SSAs trade on the uncertainty of the future, and appear to be acceptable in a number of contexts (see, e.g. Volokh, 2003;Lode, 1999). In light of the fact that there has been no empirical investigation of the slippery slope, a pressing task is to examine if, when and how SSAs are successfully employed. ...
... These results provide empirical support for the philosophical analysis of slippery slope arguments by authors such as Govier (1982) and Volokh (2003) by demonstrating, in a tightly coupled design, how slippery slopes may rest on a category boundary extension process. ...
... The slippery slope argument has become a prominent and controversial form of reasoning in biomedical ethics (van der Burg, 1991;Holtug, 1993;Launis, 2002;Saliger, 2007) and legal argumentation (Schauer, 1985;Volokh, 2002;Rizzo and Whitman, 2003). Notably since (Beardsley, 1966), it has been treated as a distinctive type of argument in its own right in the logic textbooks, typically under the heading of informal fallacies. ...
... This definition is more comprehensive, because it brings out a fourth characteristic, but it still fails to give a precise and sufficiently detailed account of the mechanism through which allowing the initial action leads to some sequence of actions or procedure that drives the sequence forward from the start point to the end point. This fourth characteristic is emphasized in the definition offered by Volokh (2002Volokh ( , 1030: "I think the most useful definition of a slippery slope is one that covers all situations where decision A, which you might find appealing, ends up materially increasing the probability that others will bring about decision B, which you oppose." However, this definition is even more minimal than the previous two. ...
... This kind of labeling or (mislabeling) can have the effect of shifting the burden of proof against the arguer who appears to have committed a fallacy, and is therefore obliged to somehow try to respond. Volokh (2002Volokh ( , 1030 has noted this reaction. ...
Article
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Although studies have yielded a detailed taxonomy of types of slippery slope arguments, they have failed to identify a basic argumentation scheme that applies to all. Therefore, there is no way of telling whether a given argument is a slippery slope argument or not. This paper solves the problem by providing a basic argumentation scheme. The scheme is shown to fit a clear and easily comprehensible example of a slippery slope argument that strongly appears to be reasonable, something that has also been lacking.
... Ważne jest pokazanie ryzyka w postaci wystąpienia niechcianych konsekwencji, które to ryzyko powinno być oszacowane przez ustawodawcę przy wprowadzaniu zmian do obowiązującego prawa. Rozpoznanie zagrożenia wystąpienia równi pochyłej może być pomocne w takim skonstruowaniu norm prawnych, które pozwolą uniknąć niechcianych skutków (Volokh, 2003(Volokh, , s. 1037. Podejmowane decyzje w postaci dopuszczania medycznie wspomaganej śmierci na zasadzie wyjątku od zasady niezabijania mają wpływ na społeczeństwo, ustawodawcę czy sądy i mogą w ostateczności przynieść zmianę paradygmatu w medycynie, czyli zasady niewyrządzania szkody oraz ochrony życia. ...
... Argument równi pochyłej należy stosować w rozsądny sposób, razem z innymi argumentami przytaczanymi przez każdą ze stron sporu. Nie powinien on być bezkrytycznie przyjmowany ani też zupełnie odrzucany (Volokh, 2003(Volokh, , s. 1035. Ważne jest, aby służył on ocenie i pokazaniu problemów, które mogą wystąpić w związku ze zmianami dotyczącymi końca życia i umierania. ...
Article
The aim of this article is to present the arguments used in the debate on the legalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Opponents of the legalization of the above procedures use the sanctity of life moral argument and the slippery slope non-moral argument. The assumption of the sanctity of life's argument is the immorality of all forms of killing, the terminal illness and related suffering are not circumstances justifying the interruption [termination] of life. The protection of life is the foundation of the functioning of society. The slippery slope is based on the following premise: if an exception is made to the principle of the inviolability of life in the form of, for example, euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill persons who are of full age and make a free request based on a pressure-free will, this will lead to the killing of the sick, the old or the handicapped without their consent or even against their will. It concerns the changes in social awareness that can lead to the questioning of the value of human life. It is also possible that abuses that are difficult to control may occur. Followers of the precipitation of death formulate two moral arguments: the argument of the autonomy of the individual and the argument of the quality of life. The argument of the autonomy of the individual is presented as an expression of respect for man and the choices he makes. Everyone has the right to decide when his or her own life ceases to be of value to him or her, especially in the case of illness and suffering, and thus to choose the so-called dignified death without suffering or dependence on others. The proponents of this argument state that the principle of autonomy can be just as important or even more important than the sanctity of life principle, and at the same time it is also a response to the medical paternalism. Just this argument has been used in the countries that have legalized the physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, (Benelux, Canada and in the following states in the USA: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, the District of Columbia and Colorado). Another argument in favor of the admissibility of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is the quality of life moral argument which assumes that in certain circumstances life and its continuation are not good for the person. The quality-of-life argument is based on an assessment of whether life is of value to the patient, or whether it remains only a burden or is limited to biological duration, as in the case of persons in a persistent vegetative state, for example.
... My intention here is to follow up on remarks by Volokh (2003), namely that mechanisms that are generally considered by logicians to be fallacies (for instance, ad hominem arguments) are better conceived of as heuristics for real-time decisionmaking by rationnally ignorant agents. 5 I will also assume that there are principles of rational argumentation, such as giving the strongest argument at the arguer's disposal (see, e.g. ...
... Let us come back to the issue of cooperativity. Volokh (2003.) makes the following observation with respect to slippery slopes. ...
... En este tipo de argumento, el punto de inicio es contemplar llevar a cabo una acción, aparentemente inocua o incluso beneficiosa (por ejemplo el censo de armas disponibles entre los ciudadanos). El argumento muestra cómo implementar la acción considerada llevaría a una consecuencia a todas luces indeseable o perjudicial (por ejemplo la posibilidad de que las armas que poseen los ciudadanos sean confiscadas por el gobierno) (Volokh, 2003). La conclusión del argumento es entonces mostrar que es necesario rechazar la implementación de la acción originalmente considerada para evitar las consecuencias indeseables que inevitablemente ocurrirán como consecuencia. ...
... La primera, es el análisis de los medios objetivos de legitiman la pendiente resbaladiza. Volokh (2003) presenta un catálogo exhaustivo acerca de los mecanismos que llevan de A a B en el contexto del razonamiento legal. Por ejemplo, Volokh propone el caso en el que se legaliza el consumo de marihuana, para regularizar su acceso, pero se prohíbe su publicidad. ...
Article
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Resumen: El concepto de similitud es indispensable para comprender el funciona-miento de distintos esquemas argumentativos, incluyendo los denominados argu-mentos de pendiente resbaladiza. Sin embargo, la pluralidad de formas de entender la similitud desarrolladas en el campo de la ciencia cognitiva parece no haber encon-trado suficiente resonancia en los estudios teóricos y empíricos sobre argumentación. En el presente texto se enfatiza la necesidad de enriquecer el análisis de los mecanis-mos psicológicos de evaluación de argumentos incorporando las principales nociones de similitud que se han propuesto en ciencia cognitiva. A manera de ilustración, se examina el caso de los argumentos de pendiente resbaladiza y se explora la hipótesis de que la similitud entre las propiedades causales de los elementos presentados en este tipo de argumentos es crucial para la evaluación que hacen las personas de su grado de convicción. Como conclusión, se traza la agenda de un nuevo programa de investigación que conecta la literatura en evaluación de argumentos con los estudios cognitivos en formación de conceptos a través de la idea de similitud.
... Methodologically speaking, the Rebonato claim, sketched in the preceding section, qualifies as a slippery slope argument: Policy A is argued to create certain conditions that help bring about -in a causal, probabilistic way -policies B, C, etc., possibly by other agents in future periods, thereby setting off a chain of policies that ultimately lead to a situation that the original supporters of policy A actually reject (Volokh, 2003). 31 In other words, policy makers may be inclined to use slippery slope dynamics in order to realise some hidden (longterm) policy agenda. ...
... In other words, internal 'counteractive self-control' (as a way to reduce cognitive dissonance) and social pressure were treated as substitutes (ibid.). 33 A quite exhaustive list is provided byVolokh (2003).Rizzo and Whitman (2009) illustrate the slippery slope contribution of interacting biases with 'sin taxes' that make the targeted agent -provided she has access to credit -'offload' the financial burden to her own future self, which may give policy makers an incentive to step in and regulate credit (ibid.: 706).34 SeeSunstein (2014: 135). ...
Article
In recent years, a novel, specifically institutional approach to public regulation has become popular, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world: ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ promises to tackle society's problems in a way that increases welfare without compromising people's freedom and autonomy. The key instrument advanced by this programme is nudges . Although nudges’ ethical quality has been discussed at length, the political economy driving their implementation by self-interested (and possibly boundedly rational) policy makers and bureaucrats has been largely neglected so far. This paper elaborates on how this gap might be filled.
... Slippery slope arguments are a type of warning and are distinct merely in the type of (implied) mechanism that underlies P(q|p). In particular, for many slippery slope arguments a gradual shift of category boundaries is at play (on other forms of slippery slope arguments see, e.g., Volokh, 2003): the act of categorising some instance (say: voluntary euthanasia) under a more general predicate (here: legal medical intervention) is assumed to lead inevitably to other items (e.g., ...
Chapter
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This chapter outlines the range of argument forms involving causation that can be found in everyday discourse. It also surveys empirical work concerned with the generation and evaluation of such arguments. This survey makes clear that there is presently no unified body of research concerned with causal argument. It highlights the benefits of a unified treatment both for those interested in causal cognition and those interested in argumentation, and identifies the key challenges that must be met for a full understanding of causal argumentation.
... On unintended consequences see Sunstein 1994. On slippery slopes see Walton 1992, Volokh 2003 value it must operate systematically to assign special value to the status quo, to some extent and in a range of cases. Other values (liberty, equality, well-being, etc.) may sometimes support the status quo, but any such support for the status quo is contingent in the sense that if the choice is between A and B and the value in question recommends B, then it would do so regardless of which of A, B (or some third possibility C) happens to be the status quo. ...
Article
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We distinguish three forms of conservatism and focus attention on the form in which conservatives identify and recognize a value not recognised by non-conservatives. Starting from an attempt to rescue conservative values by G.A. Cohen, we provide an analysis of the requirements of such a conservative position and a formulation in terms of state-relative evaluation. 2
... In dynamic settings where information, preferences, and political influence evolve over time, successive decision-making by electorates, committees, or individuals often leads to suboptimal outcomes, such as the inability to implement needed reforms (Fernandez and Rodrik (1991)), the use of shortsighted monetary or fiscal policies (Kydland and Prescott (1977) and Battaglini and Coate (2008)), the stability of unpopular regimes (Acemoglu and Robinson (2005)), and the invocation of slippery slope arguments (Volokh (2003)). Voters' behavior reflects in part their desire to protect themselves against such developments: for example, proponents of a moderate reform may fear that it will set the stage for further reforms they would no longer endorse, and thus refuse to support any change in the first place. ...
Article
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We consider collective decisions made by agents whose preferences and power depend on past events and decisions. Faced with an inefficient equilibrium and an opportunity to commit to a policy, can the agents reach an agreement on such a policy? We provide a consistency condition linking power structures in the dynamic setting and at the commitment stage. When the condition holds, commitment has no value: any agreement that may be reached at the outset coincides with the equilibrium without commitment. When the condition fails, as in the case of time-inconsistent preferences, commitment can improve outcomes. We discuss several applications.
... As public discourse on reconsidering the voting age increases, additional concerns regarding the skills and abilities of youths-as well as the fluidity of adolescents' rights and responsibilities-may be raised. Social movements often evoke concerns regarding the "slipperyslope" fallacy (Volokh, 2003): If the minimum voting age is changed to 16 years, what might stop future politicians from allowing young children to vote? The research reviewed in this article suggests that a minimum voting age of 16 years may be preferred over earlier thresholds given that several cognitive capacities become adultlike at the age of 16 years (Steinberg et al., 2009). ...
Preprint
Debates about lowering the voting age often center on whether 16 and 17-year-olds possess sufficient cognitive capacity and political knowledge to participate in politics. Little empirical research has examined age differences in adolescents’ and adults’ complexity of reasoning about political issues. We surveyed N = 778 adults (Mage = 38.5, SD = 12.5) and N = 397 16 and 17-year-olds concerning judgements and justifications about whether the US should change the minimum voting age. Justifications for changing the voting age were coded for integrative (i.e., integrating multiple perspectives to form a judgment about changing the voting age), elaborative (i.e., providing multiple reasons to support the same judgement about changing the voting age), and dialectic (i.e., recognizing multiple differing perspectives on changing the voting age) complexity of reasoning. Bayesian regressions indicated that adolescents provided greater integrative and elaborative complexity in their reasoning to change the voting age than adults. Adolescents and adults did not meaningfully differ in their dialectic complexity. Findings are consistent with past research indicating that adolescents possess the cognitive capacity and political knowledge to vote in US elections.
... 19 Embora não dê causa de forma direta e consequencial a decisões similares, a fundamentação subjacente à decisão pode, sob certas condições favoráveis, facilitar a ocorrência de decisão semelhante a ser dada para casos em que uma justificativa semelhante possa ser utilizada. 20 Ou seja, o efeito persuasivo da decisão da instância superior pode mostrar-se decisivo no convencimento dos magistrados. ...
... Błędnie uznawany za błąd logiczny[Volokh 2003]. 8 Należą do nich m.in. ...
Article
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Coraz częściej przeprowadzane są badania opinii publicznej na temat technologii przyszłości i wielowymiarowych skutków ich rozwoju. Głównym celem tego artykułu jest odpowiedź na pytanie, jakie jest dla takich badań uzasadnienie teoretyczne (z punktu widzenia socjologii) i praktyczne. Ponadto artykuł podejmuje kwestie związane ze zorientowaniem tych badań na przyszłość oraz kwestie wza-jemnych oddziaływań pomiędzy społeczeństwem a technologią. Główną konkluzją artykułu jest to, że badania opinii publicznej na temat technologii przyszłości wpisują się w główne cele socjologii jako nauki – ułatwiają przedstawienie odpowiedzi na pytanie, jakie będzie przyszłe społeczeństwo oraz jak można wskazać mu pożądany kierunek zmiany. Niemniej same badania opinii publicznej nie są wystarczające do osiągniecia tych celów. Zalecane jest sięgnięcie do dorobku pokrewnych socjologii nurtów nauk społecznych przyjmujących perspektywę przyszłości. Jest to zarazem apel o badania nad wpływem wschodzących technologii na społeczeństwo.
... Uno de los efectos negativos del uso falaz de esta figura retórica reside en la linealidad acumulativa que lleva a reformular el contexto argumental y que puede desvirtuar el sentido inicial de la discusión alrededor de un tema (Volokh, 2003). ...
Article
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La capacidad de acceder directamente a informaciones referidas a todo tipo de prácticas sociales mediadas digitalmente y la correspondiente acumulación masiva de los datos, ha situado a la evaluación de los fenómenos sociales en un nuevo terreno que pone en cuestión los modelos analíticos convencionales. La educación es un campo propicio para preguntarse sobre esos movimientos, evaluar su relevancia epistémica y precisar en qué consiste la radicalidad del cambio producido por una nueva capacidad tecnológica. Este artículo contribuye a explicar el impacto de ese nuevo escenario en el terreno de la evaluación del aprendizaje a partir de big data, dando cuenta del cambio en la estructura de las categorías empleadas y desarrollando una nueva aproximación a la analítica del aprendizaje basada en heurísticas.
... The result is the right of speakers to present their views even if assimilation by the listeners leads to or constitutes serious harm. Baker (1997Baker ( , 2012, like many American liberal philosophers and First Amendment scholars, wishes to protect freedom of expression notwithstanding the harm that the speech might inflict on the audience (Abrams 2017;Cohen 1993;Hardin 2002;Meiklejohn 1965Meiklejohn , 2000Nye, Zelikow and King 1997;Richards 1986;Scanlon 1979Scanlon , 1995Stone 2005;Volokh 2003Volokh , 2015 also interviews and discussions with those listed in Appendix 2 with citation identifier A). Consequently, many of my interviewees argue that American liberals thus tend to underestimate the harm in hate speech (interviews and discussions with those listed in Appendix 2 with citation identifier B). ...
Article
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This article aims to address two questions: how does hate speech manifest on North American white supremacist websites; and is there a connection between online hate speech and hate crime? Firstly, hate speech is defined and the research methodology upon which the article is based is explained. The ways that 'hate' groups utilize the Internet and their purposes in doing so are then analysed, with the content and the functions of their websites as well as their agenda examined. Finally, the article explores the connection between hate speech and hate crime. I argue that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that speech can and does inspire crime. The article is based in the main on primary sources: a study of many 'hate' websites; and interviews and discussions with experts in the field.
... Błędnie uznawany za błąd logiczny (więcej w:[Volokh 2003]). ...
Article
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Robotyka to wschodząca technologia o potencjale zainicjowania znaczących zmian społecznych i gospodarczych. Celem artykułu jest ustalenie jakie są postawy społeczeństwa wobec robotyki na podstawie dostępnych badań opinii publicznej. Ponadto celem artykułu jest również odpowiedź na pytanie: czy istnieje potrzeba przeprowadzania dalszych takich badań? Artykuł podejmuje te kwestie w kontekście wzajemnych oddziaływań pomiędzy społeczeństwem a robotyką, a także potencjalnych wyzwań, które będą stawiane przez tę technologię naszemu społeczeństwu. Analizowane jakościowe badanie opinii publicznej pokazuje, że mimo pewnych udogodnień robotyka jest technologią budzącą wielowymiarowy opór społeczeństwa. Z kolei badania ilościowe wskazują na większą polaryzację społeczeństwa, dzieląc je w wielu kwestiach niemal po połowie na zwolenników i przeciwników bliższej integracji społeczeństwa z robotami. Badania opinii publicznej wobec robotyki wpisują się w główne cele badawcze nauk społecznych. Za prowadzeniem takich badań i to już na wczesnym etapie rozwoju robotyki świadczy możliwość obserwacji kształtowania się postaw społeczeństwa, zanim jeszcze zamknięta została „czarna skrzynka”.
... Slippery slope effects may occur after legalisation of euthanasia in various ways (Volokh 2003). One possibility is that people do not perceive, or are not willing to act against, small changes of conditions required for a legal use of euthanasia. ...
Article
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Euthanasia is a highly controversial topic. One of the arguments against legalisation of euthanasia is that it would lead to an attitudinal slippery slope effect; that is, a shift in attitudes toward euthanasia even toward cases which were not legalised. The present study tested a possible mechanism which may lead to such shift in two experiments. Participants judged morality of euthanasia in two hypothetical scenarios describing patients requesting euthanasia. We found that participants who first evaluated a case of a non-terminally ill patient suffering from fatigue afterward considered euthanasia for a terminally ill patient suffering from pain more morally right than participants who evaluated euthanasia in the latter case first. Furthermore, we found that presenting the case of the patient suffering from fatigue before asking about attitudes toward legality of euthanasia led participants to oppose it more. The study suggests that public’s expressed attitudes toward legality of euthanasia might be easily influenced by a choice of illustrative examples. However, the change in attitudes predicted by the slippery slope effect was not observed.
... Např. Volokh (2003Volokh ( , s. 1033 uvádí, že je mnoho jiných způsobů, jak může důsledek B nastat, než přijetím A, přičemž tyto způsoby nemají nic co do činění s argumentem kluzkého svahu, důsledek B může nastat například vlivem změn morálních či empirických postojů společnosti. Tyto charakteristiky předkládá Walton (1992, s. 13) jako užitečnou pomůcku pro čtenáře a účastníky diskuze, ale důvodem, proč je uvádím i já, je, že tyto charakteristiky jsou zásadní pro hodnocení argumentu kluzkého svahu jako argumentu založeného na předpokladech, které jsou prozatímní a přístupné racionálnímu zpochybnění či vyvrácení. ...
... SSAs are arguments where a proposal is put forward but its consequences are thought to be undesirable, so that if the proposal is allowed, the undesirable consequence will unavoidably follow (e.g. "if freedom of speech is refused to extremist groups, then there will be censorship to any kind of political expression") (Volokh, 2003). Corner et al. present evidence on how the strength of slippery slope arguments is related to the perceived similarity of the elements present in the premises of the argument. ...
Conference Paper
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Similarity is a notion that is widely used both in cognitive science and in argumentation theory. These research programs have, however, developed in large part separately and in consequence rely on disparate notions of similarity. Only recently there has been a proposal for specifying how similarity actually plays a role in judging slippery slope arguments. We present here further theoretical discussion and empirical evidence in order to show how similarity can play a role in slippery slope arguments and in argumentation in general. In the experiment presented here, we manipulated the availability of causal information, and showed that people are sensitive to it when judging arguments' strength. We conclude that similarity between causal properties of the elements presented in arguments is crucial for arguments' strength assessments.
... 61 Governments, Scanlon further warns, have a tendency "to try to silence their critics", and they also tend to be "unsympathetic to ideas, values and points of view that are unpopular in the society at large". 62 Like many American liberals (Meiklejohn;63 Baker;64 Hardin;65 Volokh; 66 Nye, Zelikow and King; 67 Stone, 68 Richards), 69 Scanlon does not trust government to make the right and just decision. 70 He believes that governments, whether elected or not, have a settled tendency to try to silence their critics. ...
Article
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The First Amendment is an important value in American liberal polity. Under this value, racism, hate speech and offensive speech are protected speech. This article scrutinizes one of the clear representatives of the American liberal polity – Thomas Scanlon. The paper tracks the developments in his theory over the years. It is argued that Scanlon’s arguments downplay tangible harm that speech might inflict on its target victim audience. Scanlon’s distinction between participant interests, audience interests, and the interests of bystanders is put under close scrutiny. The article criticizes viewpoint neutrality and suggests a balancing approach, further arguing that democracy is required to develop protective mechanisms against harm-facilitating speech as well as profound offences. Both should be taken most seriously.
... Such an account can, for example, be provided in the context of legal systems, in particular in common law systems where decisions are modelled on previous decisions (see e.g.Lode 1999 andVolokh 2003 for discussions).Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved. ...
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This paper discusses a novel kind of argument for assessing the moral significance of acts of lying and misleading. It is based on considerations about valuable social norms that might be eroded by these actions, because these actions function as signals. Given that social norms can play an important role in supporting morality, individuals have a responsibility to preserve such norms and to prevent ‘cultural slopes’ that erode them. Depending on whether there are norms against lying, misleading, or both, and how likely it is that they might be eroded, these actions can thus have different moral significance. In cases in which the rule ‘do not lie’, as a relatively simple rule, functions as a ‘focal point’, acts of misleading are often morally preferable. In other words, in such cases the possibility of ‘cultural slopes’ can ground a context-dependent slippery slope argument for a moral difference between lying and misleading.
... So on the one hand I agree that on the level of regulation the proper question is not whether a sound distinction can be made between morally justified and unjustified applications of a rule, but rather how likely it is that the distinction will generally be recognised and respected. 24 But on the other hand we should not allow this perspective to provide an immunisation of the status quo to all criticism. Considering this, the question we should ask about muscular blockades in the case of gasping should be the following. ...
... Neste tipo de argumento, pretende-se induzir o leitor a acreditar que a ocorrência de um determinado fato desencadeia outros fatos acessórios e, nesse sentido, fatos não calculados no primeiro fato vão ocorrer "descendo ladeira abaixo" até que se chegue em uma situação indesejável a qual não teria mais volta. Essa sucessão de acontecimentos pode ser percebida quando Volokh (2003Volokh ( , p. 1029) diz que "todos podem identificar as situações em que o apoio de um grupo a um primeiro passo A tornou mais fácil para outros implementar o passo B posterior". Note-se que este é um argumento de forma simples, que, caso se adote uma ou mais mudanças particulares nas ações, esse evento causará um deslizamento que não possui fim, ao menos não um fim agradável. ...
... As public discourse on reconsidering the voting age increases, additional concerns regarding the skills and abilities of youth-as well as the fluidity of adolescents' rights and responsibilities-may be raised. Social movements often evoke concerns regarding the "slippery slope" fallacy (Volokh, 2003): If the minimum vote age is changed to 16 years, what might stop future politicians from allowing young children to vote? The research reviewed in this article suggests that a minimum voting age of 16 years may be preferred over earlier thresholds given that several cognitive capacities become adult-like at the age of 16 years (Steinberg et al., 2019). ...
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Several US states have proposed bills to lower the minimum local and national voting age to 16 years. Legislators and the public often reference political philosophy, attitudes about the capabilities of teenagers, or past precedent as evidence to support or oppose changing the voting age. Dissenters to changing the voting age are primarily concerned with whether 16 and 17-year-olds have sufficient political maturity to vote, including adequate political knowledge, cognitive capacity, independence, interest, and life experience. We review past research that suggests 16 and 17-year-olds possess the political maturity to vote. Concerns about youths' ability to vote are generally not supported by developmental science, suggesting that negative stereotypes about teenagers may be a large barrier to changing the voting age.
... This type of argument holds that if you take the seemingly desirable step A, through some process you will end up taking the undesirable step B. Conceptual and empirical studies suggest that slippery slope arguments are not always fallacious: they can be usedin critical discussions, particularly in institutionalised contexts such as lawto shift a burden of proof 110 or to bring the discussion to a higher level by looking at the cumulative effect of many marginal decisions. 111 A slippery slope argument can be valid, if it not only explains why B is undesirable, but also plausibly argues why A will lead to B. Possible mechanisms for A leading to B are that A lowers the costs for B, that A changes attitudes, power structures, or political momentum to favour B, and that people's tolerance for small changes will disarm resistance to (incremental steps towards) B. 112 Coincidentally, the metaphor of a slippery slope resounds in one of the more technical meanings of 'creep', namely a 'slow, imperceptible movement en masse of soil, talus, etc., usu. downhill under the influence of gravity but freq. ...
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Function creep – the expansion of a system or technology beyond its original purposes – is a well-known phenomenon. Correction: it is a well-referenced phenomenon. Yearly, hundreds of publications use the term to criticise developments in technology regulation and data governance, but surprisingly, no-one has ever written a paper about the concept itself. This paper fills that gap in the literature, by analysing and defining ‘function creep’. This creates conceptual clarity that can help structure future debates and address function creep concerns. After analysing the term ‘function creep’ itself, I discuss concepts that share family resemblances, including other ‘creep’ concepts and many theoretical notions from STS, economics, sociology, public policy, law, and discourse theory. Function creep can be situated in the nexus of reverse adaptation and self-augmentation of technology, incrementalism and disruption in policy and innovation, policy spillovers, ratchet effects, transformative use, and slippery slope argumentation. Based on this, I define function creep as an imperceptibly transformative and therewith contestable change in a data-processing system’s proper activity. Argumentation theory illuminates how the pejorative ‘function creep’ functions in debates: it makes visible that what looks like linear change is actually non-linear, and simultaneously calls for a much-needed debate about this qualitative change.
... Multimodal simulation from language may also sustain The Mind is A Body and Thinking Is Physical Functioning metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999, p. 237) and explain why one might feel slipping in and out of consciousness just as on a slippery slope (see introductory excerpt), or why it is difficult "to resist the force of an argument" or "the overwhelming weight of evidence." Similarly, while analyzing the mechanisms of slippery slopes arguments in the legislative-judicial domain, Volokh (2003) emphasized that "People resist attempts to take rights away outright, but not if the rights are eroded slowly." In the latter metaphor, erosion supposedly alters coarseness of the surface, which in turn diminishes the resistive force of friction. ...
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In Michotte's launching displays, while the launcher (object A) seems to move autonomously, the target (object B) seems to be displaced passively. However, the impression of A actively launching B does not persist beyond a certain distance identified as the "radius of action" of A over B. If the target keeps moving beyond the radius of action, it loses its passivity and seems to move autonomously. Here, we manipulated implied friction by drawing (or not) a surface upon which A and B are traveling, and by varying the inclination of this surface in screen- and earth-centered reference frames. Among 72 participants (n = 52 in Experiment 1; n = 20 in Experiment 2), we show that both physical embodiment of the event (looking straight ahead at a screen displaying the event on a vertical plane vs. looking downwards at the event displayed on a horizontal plane) and contextual information (objects moving along a depicted surface or in isolation) affect interpretation of the event and modulate the radius of action of the launcher. Using classical mechanics equations, we show that representational consistency of friction from radius of action responses emphasizes the embodied nature of frictional force in our cognitive architecture.
... Interest groups representing green construction may view governments' willingness to construct buildings to green standards as an opportunity to shift the market and increase demand for green construction in the private sector (Berry & Wilcox, 2015, pp. 28-31;Volokh, 2003). ...
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This research distinguishes among the business interest groups and community factors associated with green building policies in cities and towns to examine a specific type of business interest group—construction industry associations—involved in the green building policy arena. Rare event logit modeling is used to estimate the association of “traditional” and “green” industry groups with green building policy while controlling for various characteristics of cities. It is no surprise that the results indicate that the presence of green industry association members increases the likelihood of the presence of a green building policy. However, traditional groups do not limit the probability of a green building policy, as was expected. Community characteristics show that general revenue, population, household income, and education are all higher in cities with modern building codes, and that the average cost of energy is lower in cities with modern building codes.
... Thoughts about legalization also coincide with concerns about whether it is possible to keep the act under agreed restrictions; for example, euthanasia might start to seem like the easier option rather than prolongation of the life of a terminally ill patient [12]. This might lead us to the "slippery slope effect", an argument present in debates on euthanasia since the 1930s, in which lawyer Eugene Volokh [13] argued that legalization of euthanasia might lead to unwanted consequences. For example, it may result in a dangerous situation in which patients might feel like a burden on their families, and hence euthanasia would be an alternative to a prolonged hospital stay and suffering. ...
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Objective: Although in recent years the world has witnessed great advances in the medical field, much ambiguity still surrounds the issue of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, with increasingly favorable attitudes among physicians around the world. In our study, we aimed to assess the attitudes of physicians in Kuwait towards different types of euthanasia and examine whether physicians' frequent encounters with terminally ill patients were associated with their approval. Subjects and methods: We conducted a cross- sectional study on 464 physicians employed in government hospitals (6 general and 3 specialty hospitals). A self-administered questionnaire adapted from previous studies was used. Results: Of the physicians in our study, 43.9% reported that the Ministry of Health should legalize euthanasia under certain restricted conditions. In addition, 29.1% of our population was willing to perform euthanasia. After controlling for several characteristics in logistic regression analysis, approval of passive euthanasia was significantly associated with the following 2 factors: frequent exposure to terminally ill patients (AOR = 2.45) and obtention of the basic medical degree from Asia (AOR = 4.36) or North America/Europe (AOR = 3.24) compared to Kuwait. Male gender was significantly associated with willingness to perform euthanasia. Religion was the major reason for opposing euthanasia. Conclusion: The attitudes of physicians towards euthanasia are diverse, and therefore the Ministry of Health should provide guidelines for physicians dealing with situations where patients or their families request euthanasia.
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Courts and legal scholars have long been concerned with the problem of “entrenchment”—the ways that incumbents insulate themselves and their favored policies from the normal processes of democratic change. But this wide swath of case law and scholarship has focused nearly exclusively on formal entrenchment: the legal rules governing elections, the processes for enacting and repealing legislation, and the methods of constitutional adoption and amendment. This Article demonstrates that political actors also entrench themselves and their policies through an array of functional alternatives. By enacting substantive policies that strengthen political allies or weaken political opponents, by shifting the composition of the political community, or by altering the structure of political decision making, political actors can achieve the same entrenching results without resorting to the kinds of formal rule changes that raise red flags. Recognizing the continuity of formal and functional entrenchment forces us to consider why public law condemns the former while ignoring or pardoning the latter. Appreciating the prevalence of functional entrenchment also raises a broader set of questions about when impediments to political change should be viewed as democratically pathological and how we should distinguish entrenchment from ordinary democratic politics.
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Recent years have seen numerous clashes between proponents of broad agency discretion to use statutory mandates to address the most pressing energy and environmental issues of our time, and opponents who claim that agencies have overreached their authority. This vivid contrast in approaches to interpreting decades-old statutes is a recurring theme in high-profile energy law cases. Using an unprecedented historical analysis of over 100 years of law dating to the Progressive Era, this Article concludes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ample authority to pursue broad environmental and energy goals in transforming the electric grid, and rejects the contentions of those who have argued its authority is limited. The analysis develops a standard that is consistent with interpretation of regulatory statutes in each of three distinct eras: the Progressive Era, the era of regulation of utilities under firm-specific tariffs, and the modern, market-based era. This Article also sets forth and discusses in depth four guiding principles that reconcile the existing cases and, for the first time, specify in detail how FERC may take sweeping measures to inject new values in the wholesale electricity markets, such as accounting for environmental externalities. Using examples such as demand response (techniques for reducing electricity consumption) and a carbon price, the analysis broadens our understanding of what FERC can regulate and what states can regulate, aiming to lessen ongoing jurisdictional tension and provide a means for addressing difficult cases involving preemption of state laws. The hope is that clarity about jurisdictional boundaries provided by this standard will allow for more valuable innovation and experimentation in refashioning the electric grid.
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This study advocates strongly for clear differentiation and synthesis of descriptive and normative approaches in management education. There is a certain isolation of normative and descriptive theoretical frameworks presented in management courses. Normative frameworks in management explain how organizations should be managed, while descriptive frameworks show how they actually are managed. Significant portions of what we teach in the business curriculum are predominantly descriptive; other parts are mostly normative, or prescriptive. If these domains are not sufficiently connected, the relevance of both approaches diminishes. When one piece of material explains only the current reality without providing tools to improve it, while another piece prescribes steps for improvement that are not grounded in a particular context, students lose interest in both. The paper presents various modes of differentiation and integration between two realms and pertinent ways to recalibrate management courses.
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Slippery slope arguments in ethics generally take the following form: “Adopting proposed decision A will increase the likelihood that decision B will be adopted later. Decision B would be ethically wrong. Therefore you should oppose A, even if otherwise you might have supported it, or been indifferent to it.”
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THE PALGRAVE HANDBOOK OF TOLERATION aims to provide a comprehensive presentation of toleration as the foundational idea associated with engagement with diversity. This handbook is intended to provide an authoritative exposition of contemporary accounts of toleration, the central justifications used to advance it, a presentation of the different concepts most commonly associated with it (e.g. respect, recognition) as well as the discussion of the many problems dominating the controversies on toleration at both the theoretical or practical level. The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration is aimed as a resource for a global scholarly audience looking for either a detailed presentation of major accounts of toleration, the most important conceptual issues associated with toleration and the many problems dividing either scholars, policy-makers or practitione
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The objections to the two main justifications for affirmative action made in the first two chapters are not meant to suggest that another, more promising line of argument is unavailable. In this respect, the reconceptualization of the policy undertaken by the liberal-egalitarian1 philosopher and legal scholar Ronald Dworkin deserves a careful examination. As we shall see, Dworkin conceives of affirmative action as a more or less effective means of eradicating a specific disadvantage suffered by all black Americans that stems primarily from the still obvious correlation between “race” and class, a correlation which is itself the product of past injustice. In what follows, some interesting implications of this alternative argument will be underlined, most importantly the fact that it is based on an implicit, debatable yet ultimately plausible political and sociological judgment as to the irreducible distinctiveness of blacks’ past and present social experience. I will then proceed to describe some of the processes generating the specific disadvantage that members of this group are still faced with in more details than Dworkin himself does. But first, let us consider how this sophisticated argument of his fits into a broader conceptual framework.
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In global bioethics, the slippery slope argument has been used in such issues as abortion, legalizing marijuana, physicians having to disclose their HIV status, euthanasia, and gene therapy. Its uses in ethical controversies on the latter two topics have been most prominent, and the main examples treated in this entry are slippery slope arguments about euthanasia and gene therapy.
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This opinion paper is aimed to suggest an improved set of guidelines for physician-assisted suicide. Thus it is very practical, based on 25 years of research in eight countries and it does not expand on the underpinning theoretical basis for the guidelines. I have been an advocate of physician-assisted suicide and explained the reasoning elsewhere, primarily in The Right to Die with Dignity and Euthanasia in the Netherlands. I support the idea that patients should be able to decide the time of their death with the help and support of the medical profession. People have human dignity. At the end of their lives, the medical profession should respect their wishes and help them to the best of their abilities. By ‘dignity’ it is meant worthiness, merit. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect”. Kant explained that human beings are end in themselves and that for something to be an end in itself, “it doesn’t have mere relative value (a price) but has intrinsic value (i.e. dignity)”. He further elucidated that autonomy is the basis for the dignity of human nature and of every rational nature. Kant calls dignity an unconditional and incomparable worth that admits of no equivalent. All rational creatures have it, by virtue of their reason, and dignity constrains the ways in which we can legitimately interact. In a similar fashion, Dworkin asserted that individuals have a right to dignity because they are human. I argue that dignity is both objective and subjective concept. It is socially constructed and made up of values and feelings that one feels about oneself, about one’s self-worth and respect. It is further argued that legislation of physician-assisted suicide is a matter of moral necessity and political expediency.
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This Article debunks the idea that a federal statute’s novelty is an indication that the statute violates constitutional principles of federalism or the separation of powers. In the last six years, every Justice on the Supreme Court has signed onto the idea that legislative novelty signals that a statute is unconstitutional. Many courts of appeals have also latched onto antinovelty rhetoric, two doing so in the course of finding federal statutes unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s rhetoric about legislative novelty originated as an observation: the Court described a statute as novel when distinguishing that statute from other, constitutionally permissible ones. Since then, the Court has weaponized its rhetoric about legislative novelty such that a federal statute’s novelty is now a “telling indication” that the statute is unconstitutional. This Article urges the Court to abandon this rhetoric. The idea that legislative novelty is a sign that a statute is unconstitutional primarily rests on the mistaken Madisonian premise that Congress reliably exercises the full scope of its constitutional powers and that prior Congresses’ failure to enact a statute shows that prior Congresses assumed that the statute was unconstitutional. But there are myriad reasons why Congress does not enact statutes: enacting federal laws is difficult—in part because of constitutional requirements—and Congress legislates in response to existing conditions, which change over time. There are also many reasons why Congress may not innovate and why Congress may not have enacted every constitutionally permissible means of regulation. This Article suggests that there may be a more limited role for legislative novelty to play in areas of underenforced constitutional norms where courts have struggled to articulate workable doctrinal rules. Even then, a statute’s novelty should carry little weight in any determination about the statute’s constitutionality. Finally, this Article reflects on whether rejecting the Court’s rhetoric about legislative novelty necessarily calls into question the idea that a history of similar congressional statutes is evidence that a statute is constitutional.
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ARGUMENTS IN THE DISPUTE OVER LEGALIZING EUTHANASIA AND PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE – PART II The aim of this Article is to present the arguments used in the debate on the legalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Opponents of the legalization of the above procedures use the sanctity of life moral argument and the slippery slope non- moral argument. The assumption of the sanctity of life’s argument is the immorality of all forms of killing, the terminal illness and related suffering are not circumstances justifying the interruption [termination] of life. The protection of life is the foundation of the functioning of society. The slippery slope is based on the following premise: if an exception is made to the principle of the inviolability of life in the form of, for example, euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill persons who are of full age and make a free request based on a pressure-free will, this will lead to the killing of the sick, the old or the handicapped without their consent or even against their will. It concerns the changes in social awareness that can lead to the questioning of the value of human life. It is also possible that abuses that are difficult to control may occur. Followers of the precipitation of death formulate two moral arguments:the argument of the autonomy of the individual and the argument of the quality of life. The argument of the autonomy of the individual is presented as an expression of respect for man and the choices he makes. Everyone has the right to decide when his or her own life ceases to be of value to him or her, especially in the case of illness and suffering, and thus to choose the so-called dignified death without suffering or dependence on others. The proponents of this argument state that the principle of autonomy can be just as important or even more important than the sanctity of life principle, and at the same time it is also a response to the medical paternalism. Just this argument has been used in the countries that have legalized the physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, (Benelux, Canada and in the following states in the USA: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, the District of Columbia and Colorado). Another argument in favour of the admissibility of euthanasia andphysicianassisted suicide is the quality of life moral argument which assumes that in certain circumstances life and its continuation are not good for the person. The quality-oflife argument is based on an assessment of whether life is of value to the patient, or whether it remains only a burden or is limited to biological duration, as in the case of persons in a persistent vegetative state, for example.
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In this paper, I will present the empirical version of the slippery slope argument (SSA) in the field of genome editing. According to the SSA, if we adopt germline manipulation of embryos we will eventually end up performing or allowing something morally reprehensible, such as a new coercive eugenics. I will investigate the actual possibility of sliding towards eugenics: thus, I will examine enhancement and eugenics both in the classical and liberal versions, through the lens of SSA. In the first part, I will discuss the classical eugenics from a historical perspective and conclude that classical eugenics is morally deplorable; but by currently accepting genome editing I argue that it is not possible to 'slip' into classical eugenics. Then, I will analyze liberal eugenics: I will consider Habermas' and Sandel's objections to liberal eugenics and genetic human enhancement. Subsequently, I will reply to these arguments affirming that, although it is not possible to refuse any form of genetic enhancement, liberal eugenics would not consider the principles of justice, non-maleficence, and non-instrumentalization; hence, it should be considered not morally acceptable. In addition, I will support the thesis according to which the possibility of relapsing into liberal eugenics is more likely than relapsing into classical eugenics. Then, I will present a strategy that, while avoiding falling into the undesirable scenarios related to SSA, still accepts some application of germline genome editing of embryos and gametes. In such a way, I will show that even if we accept the plausibility of a certain slip into an undesirable scenario, SSA does not offer conclusive reasons to forbid any use of germline genome editing technique in both therapeutic and enhancement fields.
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The article examines the so-called slippery slope argument (SSA) against the legalization of active voluntary euthanasia (AVE). According to the SSA, by legalizing AVE, the least morally controversial type of euthanasia, we will take the first step onto a slippery slope and inevitably end up in the moral abyss of widespread abuse and violations of the rights of the weakest and most vulnerable patients. In the first part of the paper, empirical evidence to the contrary is presented and analyzed: None of the regrettable trends forecast can be elicited from the body of existing statistical data. Accordingly, we have no good reason to believe either that we already are, or are sooner or later going to be, sliding into a moral abyss. A related question is then considered: Would it not be wiser and safer to stick to the status quo and preserve the existing legal ban on AVE even if the risk of its abuse is uncertain and may well turn out to be relatively low? It is argued that such an appeal to precautionary reasoning fails to justify an outright legal ban on AVE for at least two reasons: (i) it grossly underestimates the hidden moral costs of current legal arrangements (competent terminal patients suffer both disrespect for their autonomous will and deprivation of the good of a timely death) and (ii) the ban is both too inefficient and disproportionate to qualify as a reasonable measure of precaution.
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The article examines the so-called slippery slope argument (SSA) against the legalization of active voluntary euthanasia (AVE). According to the SSA, by legalizing AVE, the least morally controversial type of euthanasia, we will take the first step onto a slippery slope and inevitably end up in the moral abyss of widespread abuse and violations of the rights of the weakest and most vulnerable patients. In the first part of the paper, empirical evidence to the contrary is presented and analyzed: None of the forecasted regrettable trends can be elicited from the body of existing statistical data. Accordingly, we have no good reason to believe either that we already are, or are sooner or later going to be, sliding into a moral abyss. A related question is then considered: Would it not be wiser and safer to stick to the status quo and preserve the existing legal ban on AVE even if the risk of its abuse is uncertain and may well turn out to be relatively low? It is argued that such an appeal to precautionary reasoning fails to justify an outright legal ban on AVE for at least two reasons: (i) it grossly underestimates the hidden moral costs of current legal arrangements (competent terminal patients suffer both disrespect for their autonomous will and deprivation of the good of a timely death) and (ii) the ban is both too inefficient and disproportionate to qualify as a reasonable measure of precaution.
Article
Social problems are linked in complex, dynamic, and interconnected webs. As a result, "solving" social problems creates both opportunities and constraints that, in turn, generate other problems through a process that I term the "chaining of social problems." This argument depends on the understanding of the role of unanticipated consequences, a point made by Robert Merton, and subsequently by Lewis Coser in his 1968 Presidential Address to the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). I consider four methods by which problem solutions can create further problems: incrementalism, slotting, counter-movements, and unintended effects. To explore how social problems are chained I examine twentieth-century episodes of political subversion and regime disloyalty in the United States, examining five moments of contention and their effects: the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920, the Brown Scare of 1940 to 1944, McCarthyism from 1947 to 1954, attacks on the New Left from 1965 through 1971, and the aftermath of 9/11 from 2001 to 2005. © 2006 by Society for the Study of Social Problems, Inc. All rights reserved.
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We are grateful to Richard Posner and Mark Kelman for their detailed comments on our article. Their objections come from opposite directions. Judge Posner complains that behavioral economics is not a "theory" and is in- deed "antitheoretical"'; he invokes "evolutionary considerations" in the interest of providing a unitary account of both rational and "quasi rational" behavior, as well as bounded self-interest. Posner also thinks that rational choice theory can handle many of the problems we describe. By contrast, Professor Kelman wishes that we were less theoretical. Favoring "open- textured interpretivism," he thinks that behavioral economics is in a kind of "dance" with rational choice theory, and that both dancers suffer from "hubris." He suggests that both approaches are mere "interpretive tropes," providing two of many possible understandings of the "inexorably ambiguous" data.
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Expressive conceptions of practical reason, morality, and law are gaining increasing currency. This article provides the first general statement of the aims and features of expressivism in law and morality. Two central themes structure the analysis. First, what precisely does it mean for action, either of individuals or collectives, such as democratic bodies, to express values? On this point, we distinguish the concept of expression from the narrower concept of communication; actions can express values, attitudes, and purposes whether or not the actor intends to communicate any specific proposition. Second, even if it is appropriate to consider the expressive dimensions of individual action, for both practical and moral reasoning, does it make sense to attribute expressive characteristics to collective agents, such as the State? On this point, we develop a concept of collective agency that justifies holding such agents responsible for the expressive dimensions of their actions. Much of our existing moral and legal evaluative practices are best understood, we claim, through the kind of expressivist perspective developed here. We illustrate this claim with examples from Constitutional Law, including the areas of federalism, interstate relations, equality, and the establishment clause. We also respond to recent critics of expressivism who have raised important challenges to the principles of expressive theories of law and morality.
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In the United States, proposals for informational privacy have proved enormously controversial. On a political level, such proposals threaten powerful data processing interests. On a theoretical level, data processors and other data privacy opponents argue that imposing restrictions on the collection, use, and exchange of personal data would ignore established understandings of property, limit individual freedom of choice, violate principles of rational information use, and infringe data processors' freedom of speech. In this article, Professor Julie Cohen explores these theoretical challenges to informational privacy protection. She concludes that categorical arguments from property, choice, truth, and speech lack weight, and mask fundamentally political choices about the allocation of power over information, cost, and opportunity. Each debate, although couched in a rhetoric of individual liberty, effectively reduces individuals to objects of choices and trades made by others. Professor Cohen argues, instead, that the debate about data privacy protection should be grounded in an appreciation of the conditions necessary for individuals to develop and exercise autonomy in fact, and that meaningful autonomy requires a degree of freedom from monitoring, scrutiny, and categorization by others. The article concludes by calling for the design of both legal and technological tools for strong data privacy protection.
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Arguments of the "if this, then that, and finally that" variety have a long heritage in legal and popular discourse. They appear in all fields of law and seem especially common in Professor Schauer's own area of expertise: free speech law. In this Article, Professor Schauer examines the presuppositions and defining characteristics of slippery slope arguments. His aim is not to defend or debunk such arguments, but to distinguish them from other arguments often couched in slippery slope form, and through this process of analytic isolation to expose the foundations on which slippery slope claims must stand or fall. He argues that slippery slope arguments depend for their persuasive power on the currently perceived inability of future decisionmakers to recognize, comprehend, or defend doctrinal lines drawn by their predecessors. Hence, Professor Schauer concludes, slippery slope arguments may flourish in law because of the unique way in which law, set apart from other disciplines, pays allegiance to the past while guarding the future.
Article
In this Article, I will argue that the current blanket exclusion of noncitizens from the ballot is neither constitutionally required nor historically normal. Moreover, the disenfranchisement of aliens at the local level is vulnerable to deep theoretical objections since resident aliens-who are governed, taxed, and often drafted just like citizens-have a strong democratic claim to being considered members, indeed citizens, of their local communities. Although democratic theory cannot resolve the foundational political question of who belongs to "the people," the ideological traditions of both liberalism and republicanism make available compelling arguments for the inclusion of noncitizens as voters in local elections. The bedrock hostility of the liberal rights tradition to taxation and governance without representation makes noncitizen voting a logically unassailable, if not clearly mandatory, democratic practice. Republicanism presents a somewhat more complicated picture given its historic compatibility with exclusionary practices, but a progressive commitment to dialogic politics and the constitutive value of participation is arguably vindicated by defining universal suffrage without regard to nation-state citizenship. These arguments are deepened by evolving international norms of community-based democracy and human rights and strengthened by important instrumental considerations relating to the surge in immigration which the United States is currently experiencing.Part I sketches the role alien suffrage has played in American history. Part II provides a constitutional analysis concluding that state enfranchisement of noncitizens is neither forbidden by the Constitution, as is commonly assumed, nor compelled by it, as wasargued by Gerald Rosberg in an important article published in 1977. Part III presents the normative argument for reviving alien suffrage at the local level. Part IV canvasses the current status of noncitizen voting in the United States and describes in some detail the experience of the City of Takoma Park, Maryland, which in 1992 became the first American municipality in decades to amend its charter specifically to extend the franchise to noncitizens in local elections.
Article
Slippery slope arguments pervade the legal discourse. Such arguments generally hold that we should resist a particular practice or policy, either on the grounds that allowing it could lead us to allow another practice or policy that is clearly objectionable, or on the grounds that we can draw no rationally defensible line between the two. Using examples of slippery slope arguments that have been invoked in various debates concerning law and social policy, this Comment analyzes the roles that slippery slope arguments can play in legal reasoning. After discussing the basic structure of slippery slope arguments and distinguishing among some of their different forms, the author argues that the context in which someone invokes a slippery slope argument can influence that argument's strength. The author then discusses some of the reasons why judges may be troubled by the thought of stepping on a slippery slope. While some such worries are unfounded, others cannot be so easily dismissed. The author argues that slippery slope arguments that rely on predictions can be valid arguments. He also both describes some of the factors that can help fuel slides down such slippery slopes and provides some general guidelines for evaluating those slippery slope arguments that rely on predictive claims. The author then describes some of the roles that slippery slope arguments can play in judicial decision making, even in those cases in which a judge thinks that the claims of such arguments do not provide sufficient grounds for resisting the practice under consideration altogether. In addition, the author argues that slippery slope arguments can be valuable in ways that people often fail to notice. Sometimes, the problems implicit in the case at the top of the slope will be accentuated in the case at the bottom. Reflecting on the latter can illuminate problems associated with the former. Such reflections can provide grounds for resisting the case at the top, even if we are not persuaded by the literal claims of the relevant slippery slope argument. This Comment thus concludes by arguing that there are good reasons for rethinking some of the roles that slippery slope arguments can play in legal debates.
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Consumer choice is often influenced by the context, defined by the set of alternatives under consideration. Two hypotheses about the effect of context on choice are proposed. The first hypothesis, tradeoff contrast, states that the tendency to prefer an alternative is enhanced or hindered depending on whether the tradeoffs within the set under consideration are favorable or unfavourable to that option. The second hypothesis, extremeness aversion, states that the attractiveness of an option is enhanced if it is an intermediate option in the choice set and is diminished if it is an extreme option. These hypotheses can explain previous findings (e.g., attraction and compromise effects) and predict some new effects, demonstrated in a series of studies with consumer products as choice alternatives. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
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Despite its normative importance, the question of why people join interest groups remains open. It has certainly provoked a wealth of theoretical attention. Regrettably, however, it has inspired only a handful of empirical tests. The introduction of this article places the empirical debate into its normative context. The first section develops a rational model of individual evaluations of group membership, focusing upon the effect of changing personal circumstances--preferences, needs, resources, insecurity, and information--on the calculus. In particular, the theory predicts responsiveness to political or collective benefits in threatening times. Analyses of aggregate changes over time in membership in the Farm Bureau, the League of Women Voters, and the Home Builders, reported in the second section, bear the model out. Finally, the conclusion takes on the complementary question of group supply, sketching a theory of group mobilization that emphasizes subsidization.
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A Black family enters a coffee shop in a small Texas town. A white man places a card on their table. The card reads, “You have just been paid a visit by the Ku Klux Klan.” The family stands and leaves. © 1993 by Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R Lawrence III, Richard Delgado, and Kimberlè Williams Crenshaw.
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Social norms scholarship offers various conceptual models for understanding law's capacity to produce or inhibit particular behaviors. The current literature, however, has inadequately attended to either testing these theories through empirical research or studying law's ancillary effects on social structure and individuals' lives. In response, this Article undertakes an empirical study of the social effects of an unenforced criminal law: sodomy statutes. The Article examines the constitutive impact these laws have on individual identity, social relations, and conceptions of public space. This aspect of the study is based on ethnographic research conducted in South Africa before and after the country's sodomy laws were abolished. The findings of this inquiry provide the empirical basis for development of a conceptual model for understanding the process by which laws intersect with informal social surveillance to produce a regime in which lesbians and gays are ultimately encouraged to discipline themselves. In developing this framework, the Article calls for integrating these understandings of micro-level social relations into a macro-sociological perspective on the regulatory effects of law. The Article thus examines the influence exerted by the criminalization of homosexuality on other institutional discourses (such as religion and medicine). These connections are explored as one way of analyzing law's constitutive effects in shaping and remaking social norms.
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Volokh presents four cyberspace speech controversies that involve an interesting modern body of speech restrictions: hostile environment harassment law. These examples illustrate three things--in most of the controversies, the result should be driven not by the medium, but by the underlying free speech principles; that the Clinton Administration's role in these areas has been comparatively slight; and that each of the controversies shows that there is considerable truth to the much-maligned concept of the slippery slope.
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In his thoughtful and thought-provoking article, How to Choose a Constitutional Theory, Professor Fallon offers assistance to those bewildered by the large number and variety of constitutional theories. His insightful account sheds light on what is at stake in the constitutional theory debate, showing the premises shared by its participants. Nonetheless, I am dubious about Fallon's basic undertaking. The title suggests that the choice of a constitutional theory precedes the formulation of answers in particular cases: one chooses a constitutional theory and then applies it to constitutional cases. Yet in practice, matters typically proceed in the opposite direction.
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Slippery slope arguments (SSAs) are, so I argue, arguments from consequences which have the following peculiar characteristic: They take advantage of our being less than perfect in making—and acting according to—distinctions. But then, once SSAs are seen for what they are, they can be turned against themselves. Being less than perfect at making the second‐order distinction between distinctions we're good at abiding by and those we're bad at abiding by, we're bound to fail to make the distinction between good and bad SSAs. One can therefore construct an SSA, the conclusion of which is, that we ought not to use SSAs. After characterizing SSAs and constructing the SSA against the use of SSAs, I then explore its implications.
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Classical theories of choice associate with each option a unique value such that, given an offered set, the decision maker chooses the option of highest value. An immediate consequence is context-independence: the relative ranking of any two options should not vary with the presence or absence of other options. Five experiments reveal two systematic violations of context-independence in legal decision making: the same option is evaluated more favorably when it is intermediate rather than extreme in the offered set (compromise), and the same option is evaluated more favorably in the presence of a similar option that is clearly inferior to it (contrast). Prescriptive implications of context-dependence in legal decision making are discussed. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.
Article
In February 1994, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act established a nationwide requirement that licensed firearms dealers observe a waiting period and initiate a background check for handgun sales. The effects of this act have not been analyzed. To determine whether implementation of the Brady Act was associated with reductions in homicide and suicide rates. Analysis of vital statistics data in the United States for 1985 through 1997 from the National Center for Health Statistics. Total and firearm homicide and suicide rates per 100,000 adults (>/=21 years and >/=55 years) and proportion of homicides and suicides resulting from firearms were calculated by state and year. Controlling for population age, race, poverty and income levels, urban residence, and alcohol consumption, the 32 "treatment" states directly affected by the Brady Act requirements were compared with the 18 "control" states and the District of Columbia, which had equivalent legislation already in place. Changes in rates of homicide and suicide for treatment and control states were not significantly different, except for firearm suicides among persons aged 55 years or older (-0.92 per 100,000; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.43 to -0.42). This reduction in suicides for persons aged 55 years or older was much stronger in states that had instituted both waiting periods and background checks (-1.03 per 100,000; 95% CI, -1.58 to -0.47) than in states that only changed background check requirements (-0.17 per 100,000; 95% CI, -1.09 to 0.75). Based on the assumption that the greatest reductions in fatal violence would be within states that were required to institute waiting periods and background checks, implementation of the Brady Act appears to have been associated with reductions in the firearm suicide rate for persons aged 55 years or older but not with reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates. However, the pattern of implementation of the Brady Act does not permit a reliable analysis of a potential effect of reductions in the flow of guns from treatment-state gun dealers into secondary markets. JAMA. 2000;284:585-591