Jun. 24th, 2009

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i want to post this here so i can noodle about it later. elsejournal i said: "i am fairly dead-set against slippery slope arguments."

somebody else asked: Just for the sake of my own curiosity, in all contexts? And if so, why?

my reply:

probably not in all contexts, because that seems rarely true for me, but right now i can't come up with a context in which slippery slope arguments don't fundamentally bother me. i mean, even positive ones bother me. [ah, now that i've written the whole thing, i can feel something nudging at the back of my brain, but it'll have to wait til another time.]

let's see whether i have enough neurons online to explain concisely why i think SSAs are so dangerous.

logic, 2 points:
a) SSAs generally ignore the huge middle ground in human behaviours, and do not show convincing data to support their conclusions. human behaviour does not inevitably produce a domino effect.

b) SSAs are arguments from specific projected consequences which take advantage of humans being imperfect when making nuanced distinctions. but being imperfect at making the second-order distinction between distinctions we're good at and those we're bad at, we're bound to fail to make the distinction between good and bad SSAs. and we then arrive at a higher order mess.

application: i perceive in policy based on SSAs a strong tendency towards the very thing we're both decrying -- greater cynicism and mistrust in people's ability to do the right thing and therefore greater restriction of their self-determination, and more and more rules to hem them in just in case they might do something dangerous, even if the danger is just to themselves.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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