An extract on #dallashair
Common phrases expressing similar or synonymous concepts include:
false dichotomy (which more often describes the distinguishing of two things which are not necessarily distinct)
false choice or the fallacy of false choice
"black-and-white thinking" or "thinking in black and white"
"denying a conjunct" (similar to a false dichotomy)
fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses
fallacy of the excluded middle
fallacy of the false alternative
If entire segments of the population are excluded from a sample, then there are no adjustments that can produce estimates that are representative of the entire population. But if some groups are underrepresented and the degree of underrepresentation can be quantified, then sample weights can correct the bias. However, the success of the correction is limited to the selection model chosen. If certain variables are missing the methods used to correct the bias could be inaccurate.
For example, a hypothetical population might include 10 million men and 10 million women. Suppose that a biased sample of 100 patients included 20 men and 80 women. A researcher could correct for this imbalance by attaching a weight of 2.5 for each male and 0.625 for each female. This would adjust any estimates to achieve the same expected value as a sample that included exactly 50 men and 50 women, unless men and women differed in their likelihood of taking part in the survey.
Given the disagreement over what constitutes a genuine slippery slope argument it is to be expected that the there are differences in the way they are defined. Lode says that "although all SSAs share certain features, they are a family of related arguments rather than a class of arguments whose members all share the same form."
Various writers have attempted to produce a general taxonomy of these different kinds of slippery slope. Other writers have given a general definition that will encompass the diversity of slippery slope arguments. Eugene Volokh says, "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."
Those who hold that slippery slopes are causal generally give a simple definition, provide some appropriate examples and perhaps add some discussion as to the difficulty of determining whether the argument is reasonable or fallacious. Most of the more detailed analysis of slippery slopes has been done by those who hold that genuine slippery slopes are of the decisional kind.
Lode, having claimed that SSAs are not a single class of arguments whose members all share the same form, nevertheless goes on to suggest the following common features.
Rizzo and Whitman identify slightly different features. They say, "Although there is no paradigm case of the slippery slope argument, there are characteristic features of all such arguments. The key components of slippery slope arguments are three:
Walton notes that these three features will be common to all slippery slopes but objects that there needs to be more clarity on the nature of the 'mechanism' and a way of distinguishing between slippery slope arguments and arguments from negative consequences.
Corner et al. say that a slippery slope has "four distinct components:
The alleged danger lurking on the slippery slope is the fear that a presently unacceptable proposal (C) will (by any number of psychological processessee, e.g., Volokh 2003) in the future be re-evaluated as acceptable."
Walton adds the requirement that there must be a loss of control. He says, there are four basic components, "One is a first step, an action or policy being considered. A second is a sequence in which this action leads to other actions. A third is a so-called gray zone or area of indeterminacy along the sequence where the agent loses control. The fourth is the catastrophic outcome at the very end of the sequence. The idea is that as soon as the agent in question takes the first step he will be impelled forward through the sequence, losing control so that in the end he will reach the catastrophic outcome. Not all of these components are typically made explicit..."