I'm hearing the argument
X doesn't do Y, people do Y in quite a few guises. For instance, in its original form:
Guns don't kill people; people kill people.
Presumably, therefore, guns are OK.
Cars don't kill people; people kill people.
Again, the inference is that fast cars are OK.
And more recently on BBC business news:
Securitising debt doesn't destablise financial institutions; people destablise financial institutions
Again leading implicitly to ... these kind of financial instruments are perfectly fine so lets start using them again.
Instinctively these kind of arguments feel invalid. Can anyone perhaps use some more rigorous or formal type (logical?) analysis to demonstrate their validity/invalidity. Is that even possible?
What I am interested in is an analysis of this particular form of argument using the tools of philosophy. When it was just used by the gun lobby it just seemed like a rhetorical tool. But it's now bleeding over to other areas so I'm interested in the form of that argument and it's validity. It's almost incidental that it's gun control. As an aside there is a really good podcast about the philosophy of gun control if anyone is interested in those particular issues.