Near cousins to arguments from the heap are slippery-slope arguments, but they reach different conclusions. Whereas heap arguments conclude that nothing has a certain property, such as baldness, a slippery-slope argu- ment could be trotted out to try to show that there is no real or defensible or significant or important difference between being bald and not being bald. The claim is not that no change occurs because the person who loses all his hair is still not bald, as in an argument from the heap. Instead, the slippery-slope argument claims that we should not classify people as either bald or not bald, because there is no significant difference between these classifications.
Whether a difference is significant depends on a variety of factors. In particular, what is significant for one purpose might not be significant for other purposes. Different concerns then yield different kinds of slippery- slope arguments. We will discuss three kinds, beginning with conceptual slippery-slope arguments.
CONCEPTUAL SLIPPERY-SLOPE ARGUMENTS
Conceptual slippery-slope arguments try to show that things at opposite ends of a continuum do not differ in any way that would be important enough to justify drawing a distinction in one’s concepts or theories. As an example, consider the difference between living and nonliving things.