Assume a debate has occurred and a result ended the debate, but in this result a slippery slope is coming true - more specifically the contrapositive used as a basis for argument that relied on a slippery slope started to occur as described by the slippery slope.

For example, Bob argues that if X then U, V, and W will occur.

Alice says this is a slippery slope.

X then becomes a law, and U, V, and W occur.

Was this then a fallacy since it "came true?"

  • 1
    Does the fact that somebody actually wins every single lottery change the fact that the expected value of a lottery ticket is negative?
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 3, 2015 at 10:16
  • 1
    I think that's more a matter of game theory and statistics...this seems to me to be a different epistemic question...
    – user13617
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:11
  • I'm a little lost as to what "in this result a slippery slope was actually triggered" means. Do you mean the argument reached a conclusion but the basis for reaching this conclusion was via a slippery slope? (btw, slippery slope is a weird fallacy in that it formally appears to be similar to an implementation of hypothetical syllogism)
    – virmaior
    Jul 3, 2015 at 13:33
  • Apologies- the events within the slippery slope fallacy are actually coming true.
    – user13617
    Jul 4, 2015 at 14:34
  • Hey @virmaior can you reopen this now? Or do I need to be more explicit?
    – user13617
    Jul 4, 2015 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


To answer this question most directly, an argument is fallacious when its premises fail to offer sufficient logical support to its conclusion. In the case of what was actually a bad slippery slope argument which came true in spite of its being a bad argument, we might be surprised, but that only shows that improbable events sometimes do happen. The argument has not become a good argument by virtue of the fact that the improbable events it depended on actually happened. It is not a reason for us to change the standards by which we generally evaluate the goodness of arguments. That probably covers it, but if you want to read more about slippery slope arguments and fallacies, then please do:

The basic underlying feature of almost all fallacious arguments (I say almost, because in some cases the distinction between the logical and material tasks becomes blurred) is that their premises fail to offer sufficient logical support for their conclusions. One point worth noticing is that it is possible to have a deductive argument, an argument in which the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion, which follows the form of a slippery slope argument. A deductive argument following this form, if it is valid, cannot be a fallacy.

Fallacious slippery slope arguments are inductive, rather than deductive. As with their deductive counterpart, each premise is logically dependent on the previous one, but the support is only probabilistic. Since each premise is only probabilistically implied by the previous premise, every premise that is added to an inductive slippery slope argument reduces its logical strength. Think of it as multiplying a series of probabilities. If your first premise offers 95% logical support to the second, and the second premise offers 95% support to the third, then the third is only supported 90.25% since .95 x .95 = .9025.

However, this does not show that all inductive slippery slope arguments are automatically fallacious. If there are a small number of premises, and each premise offers strong logical support to the next premise in the series, then we might still think that an argument which has that sort of logical structure can be good.

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