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A decision-making method used in biomedical ethics; based on previous experience with similar cases.
[L. casus, case]
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The Anglican bishop, and Carolingian state casuist, Joseph Hall observed in his satire, The Discovery of a New World, that in the fantasy lands of 'Fooliana and Fickle' the local currency, 'had on one side, one in a gowne seeming to be of middle age, leaning his hand upon the head of a little pretty dog and holding in the left hande a book; and on the other side was a chameleon enamelled in all her altering colours and over her these words Const(antia) Lips(ius)'.
The casuists presaged another emerging group of bioethicists who call themselves "pragmatic" bioethicists.
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.
And, despite the latter's claims, a good casuist is not necessarily morally bankrupt (Strong 327).
Bireley introduces a modern and schematic division between "holy war" (a providential war, involving a divine call) and a "religious war" (one merely fought for the advancement or defence of religion); this division obscures more subtle distinctions made by seventeenth-century casuists and theologians.
That doctrine, as philosopher Michael Walzer points out, was formulated as part of "just war" theory by Catholic casuists in the Middle Ages in order to reconcile "the absolute prohibition against attacking noncombatants with the legitimate conduct of military activity.
It is not a text to be parsed, by ingenious legal casuists, into a permission for coercive interrogations that cross the line, as in Abu Ghraib.
The audience he was targeting is made clear in a letter written to Father Leonard de Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne at the moment of publication, where he confides that many issues are being raised that have not been touched upon before and will be of much use to theologians, casuists, doctors, jurists and anatomists (Venette, cited in Flouret, 1992: 44).
It may not satisfy the legal casuists, but Farber's conclusion has a certain plausibility: "[O]ne fact is crucial.
2) Defining the anti-Machiavellian tradition by its incorporation of practical concerns into a Christian world view, Robert Bireley points out that "Anti-Machiavellian statecraft was the product not of philosophers and theorists but of political writers and moralists or casuists who sought by careful analysis the application of general principles to new and specific situations" (238-9).
Casuists and particularists emphasize the inadequacies of such theories for real-life decision-making and conclude that efforts to systematize and find general theoretical justification for our moral choices and judgments are misconceived.
62) As we have seen, the medieval ecclesiastical chancellor could be regarded as being authoritative on matters of conscience--something about which Protestant casuists complained.