Short Review: Araszkiewicz, The slippery slope arguments against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide

Michał Araszkiewicz
The slippery slope arguments against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide forthcoming in Studies in the Philosophy of Law IV
Theses
 Outlines and examines the various formulations of the slippery slope argument against PAS in considerable detail and within clarity and rigour. Makes a distinction between PAS and euthanasia and withdrawing life support which is perhaps too limiting and, arguably, less sharp.
 Formulates three kinds of Slippery Slope Argument (SSA):
 (LSSA 1) If we allow A, we will be logically forced to allow B, due to the lack of significant difference between them,
 (LSSA 2) If we allow A, we will be logically forced to allow B, due to the sorites structure of the reasoning,
 (ESSA ) If we allow A, B will (ultimately) take place due to the empirical processes.
 Then examines them all against two options available in the Polish context- creating a subjective right to die and a less extreme decriminalisation of helping someone to die.
 Admits the weakness of some of his formulations and concludes with a call for further research on the problem.

Commentary
 Despite the scholarly approach and detailed examination, the paper perhaps falls victim to something which Araszkiewicz himself terms “SSAs play an important role in political and ethical debate and must not be easily dismissed as logical fallacies”. This is actually far from clear: in the case of LSSA 1, there is a clear difference between helping someone to die of their own volition and killing people who wish to live; in the LSS2, this seems to be exactly the sort of logical fallacy that he claims that they are not; ESSA is perhaps the most enigmatic of them all and from far convincing in my opinion.
 SSA’s are actually the last resort (or sometimes the first port of call) for extremists who wish to avoid a concrete discussion and rather focus on hypothetical and imagined consequences of a very different act – a contemporary case in point being the Republican senator in the US who used such reasoning to claim that Obama’s health care reform will lead to gulags since it is the “slippery slope to socialism”.

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