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casuistry


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

E thics [from Latin casus , case] The study of individual moral cases to which general moral principles cannot be directly applied in order to decide whether they can be brought into the scope of general norms. Its major procedures include appeal to intuition , analogy with paradigm cases , and the assessment of particular cases. Casuistry has a derogatory sense as a species of sophistry by which any conduct might be justified. Casuistry has traditionally been seen to be a part of rhetoric and was widely practiced in the medieval period in the elaboration of church creed and practice. It developed into probabilism , that is, the view that if a practical counsel is possibly true, then it is wise to follow it. Casuistry in this sense was attacked by Pascal . However, casuistry also has a positive meaning in ethics. Aristotle 's ethics established that practical reason is crucial for adjusting universal moral norms to make them suit particular circumstances. Casuistry is the art of practical reasoning , in contrast to the mechanistic application of rigid rules of conduct. In the second half of the twentieth century, with the flourishing of applied ethics, casuistry has also been revived. “There can be rational discussion whether a given extension of the term properly bears the spirit or underlying principle of its application to the core cases. Arguments in this style ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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