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USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 5A

The broad focus of these lessons is understanding sources of information, including examples that can help you learn how to access information sources at USD. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific element of information competency.

Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope

According to the Nizkor Project, the Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person claims 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 or omitted. This "argument" has the following form:

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

An example of a slippery slope fallacy follows: "We have to stop the proposed tuition increase! The next thing you know, they'll be charging $40,000 a semester!"

The slippery slope fallacy occurs because the speaker claims that the introduction of a tuition increase will inevitably lead to excessively high tuition. Raising tuition is under the control of administrators who can limit its increase. The slippery slope argument can function (as here) as a scare tactic.


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