casuistry

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casuistry

(kăzh`yo͞oĭstrē) [Lat., casus=case], art of applying general moral law to particular cases. Although most often associated with theology (it has been utilized since the inception of Christianity), it is also used in law and psychology. The function of casuistry is to analyze motives so individual judgments can be made in accordance with an established moral code. The term is often used in a pejorative sense to indicate specious or equivocal reasoning.

casuistry

Philosophy the resolution of particular moral dilemmas, esp those arising from conflicting general moral rules, by careful distinction of the cases to which these rules apply
References in periodicals archive ?
The neo-classicists in this context are considered by Babbitt (1910: 22) as having been rather "Jesuitical casuists" (sophists) who, in their attempt to deny the rights of imagination, came to convert the "divine illusion of poetry" into "agreeable falsity." For the neoclassicists all those who were too "unexpected" were declared "monstrous"; the poets were not supposed to rely on their own resources at all, on the contrary, they had to depend on the second important form of imitation, that of models: copying fictions already created by the ancient poets.
The venerable Yankee says, "I hold myself (and any learned casuist of the Church would hold me) as free to disclose all the particulars of what you term your confession, as if they had come to my knowledge in a secular way" (4:360).
What he wrote about the casuists might be applied to those responsible for the content of The Federal Register: "That frivolous accuracy which they attempted to introduce into subjects which do not admit of it, almost necessarily betrayed them into those dangerous errors [such as chicaning with our consciences and evading the most essential articles of our duty], and at the same time rendered their works dry and disagreeable" (TMS, 339-40).
The Casuists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have left us a shameful monument to the bestial refinement of all vices, the depravation of imagination, the private hardships of the family and the ruin of morals that run through those deplorable societies.
Casuists, represented most prominently by Albert Jonson and Stephen Toulmin, (2) suggested that ethical decision making was best done by attempting to relate particular ethical dilemmas and situations to paradigm cases (the name "casuistry" refers to "cases") and then adapting the paradigm case to the particular case as a way of making an ethical decision.
While Foucault suggests that a cultivated sense of "conscious and permanent visibility" is alone sufficient to ensure obedience, casuists attribute the power of conscience to a divine system of rewards and punishments as much as to mere scrutiny.
These models of prudent discrimination demonstrate the ethical difficulties that casuists confront.
"We have now to cope with a deliberate regression towards barbaric terrorism by our opponents," explains the Defence Secretary, echoing the casuists of the Justice Department.
Crosignani examines in a detailed yet concise manner how casuists proposed the liceity of a third option.
When he wishes, Byron returns to his conflicts with "some casuists" who think that he has "no devotion" by challenging them to pray with him: And you shall see who has the properest notion Of getting into Heaven the shortest way; My altars are the mountains and the ocean, Earth, air, stars,--all that springs from the great Whole, Who hath produced and will receive the soul.
A medley of kindred, that't would puzzle a convocation of casuists to resolve their degrees of consanguinity.