Casuistry

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Casuistry

1. In law, the act of applying a rule or principle to a theoretical situation in order to see how it holds up.

2. In law, the act of generalizing an unusual situation in order to form a rule or principle based on it.

3. Derogatory, faulty reasoning.
References in periodicals archive ?
(90) Significantly, type one and two deceit mirror sixteenth-century Catholic casuist advice on equivocation or amphibology and mental reservation rather than the absolute and seemingly cynical breach with conventional or traditional morality that Machiavelli advocated.
Thus, one could say that Thomas's early distinction between finis operis (which he later calls the finis proximus, not the finis naturalis) and finis agentis differentiates between those ends that belong to the substance of the act and constitute the species (the early finis operis and later finis proximus), and those that additionally define the act (the finis agentis or casuist finis operantis).
Josef Ghoos has demonstrated that through the 16th century, casuists debated isolated concrete cases.
A casuist ethics committee could avoid this mistake by insuring that any policy or guideline it develops on forgoing medical treatment makes explicit reference to the cases that constitute the best judgment of the committee regarding when treatment may or may not be forgone.
Toulmin believes that our society relies too heavily and mistakenly on principles: "In law, in ethics, and in public administration alike, there is nowadays a similar preoccupation with general principles and a similar distrust of individual discretion." He recommends that by being like the physician the casuist could consider first the concrete problems at hand through a variety of resources and not merely through principles that so often "glide over the facts."(47) Jonsen agrees: "Justification of any particular moral claim comes rarely from a single principle, as many theories would like, but usually from the convergence of many considerations, each partially persuasive but together convincing with plausible probability....
"By ignoring the insights of the casuists and rejecting their use of moral discernment for a more principled but grossly simplistic approach to moral issues, we do humanity a disservice that has produced bitter fruit."(53) The Catholic tradition would be better served by admitting the alternatives which it contains.
Pound associated it with the hegemonic, casuist rhetorical practice of Liberal England, even though Arthur Symons had outlined it in 1899 as "an attempt to spiritualise literature, to evade the old bondage of rhetoric, the old bondage of exteriority" (9).
The argument of the casuist is only persuasive to suggest that testing Camila might not be a good idea; it does nothing to determine or demonstrate whether or not Camila is virtuous.
(17) For Avery, this observation leads naturally to a discussion of maps and empire, but more striking to my eye is the way Avery's language illuminates--again, apparently by accident--the text's profound concern with the relationship between abstract and concrete: that is, how "the Godly perspective" of the map both depends on and yet judges Irenius's firsthand "personal experience." (18) This same pattern lies at the heart of the casuist's art, which seeks to reconcile abstract moral principles with their application under particular, nuancing circumstances.
A good arguer, unlike a good analytic philosopher, must be a good casuist. And, despite the latter's claims, a good casuist is not necessarily morally bankrupt (Strong 327).
In fact, Richard Posner, when describing the antithesis of the pragmatist, includes "the logician, the casuist ...
The casuist's approach uses the outcome of previous experience, carrying over procedures and solutions from previous problems and applying them to novel problem situations.