The persistence of casuistry the revival of case based reasoning
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The Persistence of Casuistry: the Revival of Case-Based Reasoning. I. ca suistry defined. II. casuistry despised. I II. casuistry rehabilitated. IV. casuistry in the classroom. I. ca suistry defined. abortion. 45% prolife 49% prochoice.

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The Persistence of Casuistry: the Revival of Case-Based Reasoning

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The Persistence of Casuistry:the Revival of Case-Based Reasoning

I. casuistry defined

II. casuistry despised

III. casuistry rehabilitated

IV. casuistry in the classroom

I. casuistry defined


45% prolife49% prochoice

Gallup poll July 2011

27% legal under any circumstance22% illegal in any circumstance

50% legal only under certain circumstances


Casuistry: an example

II. casuistry despised

Protagoras - sophist


428 – 427 B.C.E.

" is a lesser sin if a man seduces a beautiful woman than an ugly one, for he is compelled by beauty, and, where there is greater compulsion, there is less sin." Alain of Lille (12th century)

1556 – 1656“high casuistry”



Casuistry – “the art of quibbling with God.”Penny Encyclopedia 1836

Casuistry destroys by distinctions and exceptions all morality, and effaces the essential difference between right and wrong.Oxford English Dictionary

no tolerance policies

III. casuistry rehabilitated


ethics as deductive reason

Lying is morally wrong.

The bishop lied to the police.

The bishop’s action was morally wrong.

“He condemned nothing hastily or without taking account of circumstances…he had none of the inaccessibility of a rigid moralist.”Victor Hugo on Bishop Myriel in Les Miserables (13)

It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject matter admits.Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics1094b24-26

Cicero 106-43 B.C.E.

“It is hard work to be excellent … To do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy…” Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1109a

IV. casuistry in the classroom

start with detailed cases

explore differences between cases

work out a taxonomy

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