11 January 2005

Word for othe Day

casuistry · kÄzh-w&-stri; kÄ-zh&- · noun · plural -ries

1 : a resolving of specific cases of conscience, duty, or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or religious doctrine
2 : specious argument; rationalization, esp. involving the first sense in a negative connotation
From Wikipedia, on the first (non-sinister) sense:

Casuistry (argument by cases) is an attempt to determine the correct response to a moral problem, often a moral dilemma, by drawing conclusions based on parallels with agreed responses to pure cases, also called paradigms. Casuistry is a method of ethical case analysis. Another common everyday connotation is "complex reasoning to justify moral laxity or to forward unspoken agendas."

Casuistry is a branch of applied ethics. It is the standard form of reasoning applied in common law.

Casuistry takes a relentlessly practical approach to morality. Rather than applying theories, it examines cases. By drawing parallels between paradigms, so called "pure cases," and the case at hand, a casuist tries to determine the correct response (not merely an evaluation) to a particular case. The selection of a paradigm case is justified by warrants.

This form of reasoning is the basis of case law in common law.

Etymology: casuist; 1609, "one who studies and resolves cases of conscience," from Fr. casuiste, from L. casus. Often in a sinister or contemptuous sense. Casuistry is first attested 1725.
"Casuistry ... destroys, by distinctions and exceptions, all morality, and effaces the essential difference between right and wrong."
[Bolingbroke, 1736]

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