[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

On Sun, Sep 21, 2003 at 05:27:39PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> On 2003-09-21 15:41:02 +0100 Roland Mas <lolando@debian.org> wrote:
> >  If by that you mean we should add an explicit "We define software as
> >everything non-hardware" clause to our policy, then I'll agree with
> >you.
> The logical conclusion of that process is defining all words in it, 
> then defining all words used in the definitions and so on, which is 
> clearly absurd.

No, that's not a logical conclusion.  It's a fallacy, specifically the
slippery slope fallacy.  If we add a definition of "software" because
it is (apparently) subject to different interpretations and a source
of controversy, then we can add a definition for just that one word.
There's no evidence that all other words in the document lead to such
controversy, and no reason to suppose that we'll have to define them too.

I invite you to study these pages:

The first one is particularly relevant because it describes
exactly what you're doing here:

  The Slippery Slope fallacy mimics the pattern of the reductio ad
  absurdum argument. It postulates the truth of an opponent's position,
  and then tries to make the case that the opponent's position would
  lead to unacceptable consequences. The Slippery Slope fallacy is
  illegitimate, however, because the consequences claimed are not actually
  logical consequences of the opponent's position. Rather, the opponent's
  position is "connected" to the unacceptable consequences by some other
  means. Sometimes the argument postulates a (usually improbable) causal
  sequence of events that would lead from the opponent's position being
  accepted to the unacceptable consequences. Other times the argument
  turns on a psychological continuum, i.e. that we will slowly become
  accustomed to things that we currently find unacceptable. (Such
  psychological continuums do exist, but movement is rarely only in
  a single direction, so movement to an unacceptable extreme is never

Richard Braakman

There's still time to save Europe from software patents.
EuropeSwPatentFree - http://EuropeSwPatentFree.internautas.org 

Reply to: