The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering of Humans

D. Walton,The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering of Humans. Science and Engineering Ethics, 23(6), 2017, 1507-1528.

20 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2018

Date Written: January 22, 2017

Abstract

This article applies tools from argumentation theory to slippery slope arguments used in current ethical debates on genetic engineering. Among the tools used are argumentation schemes, value-based argumentation, critical questions, and burden of proof. It is argued that so-called drivers such as social acceptance and rapid technological development are also important factors that need to be taken into account alongside the argumentation scheme. It is shown that the slippery slope argument is basically a reasonable (but defeasible) form of argument, but is often flawed when used in ethical debates because of failures to meet the requirements of its scheme.

Keywords: argumentation schemes, genetic enhancement, gene editing, germline therapy

Suggested Citation

Walton, Douglas, The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering of Humans (January 22, 2017). D. Walton,The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering of Humans. Science and Engineering Ethics, 23(6), 2017, 1507-1528.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3107283

Douglas Walton (Contact Author)

University of Windsor ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Canada

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