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 <firstname.lastname@example.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
> 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
There's still time to save Europe from software patents.
EuropeSwPatentFree - http://EuropeSwPatentFree.internautas.org