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Slippery Slope

Posted by ESC on February 12, 2003

In Reply to: Slippery Slope posted by S. on February 12, 2003

: Hello, I was just hoping some one might know who came up with the phrase "slippery slope". Thanks for any assistance.

I haven't found the origin. But I'm close.

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE - "The broad and easy way 'that leadeth to destruction.' See also AVERNUS." The Avernus entry talks about a lake in Italy "that its sulphurous exhalations caused any bird that attempted to fly over it to fall into its waters." From "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition).

From online:

"Fallacy: Slippery Slope
Also Known as: The Camel's Nose.

Description of Slippery Slope
The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts 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. This "argument" has the following form:

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

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another."

From the Nizkor Project at Accessed February 11, 2003.