Casuistry and principlism are two of the leading contenders to be considered the methodology of bioethics. These methods may be incommensurable since the former emphasizes the examination of cases while the latter focuses on moral principles. Conversely, since both analyze cases in terms of mid-level principles, there is hope that these methods may be reconcilable or complementary. I analyze the role of principles in each and thereby show that these theories are virtually identical when interpreted in a certain light. (...) That is, if the gaps in each method are filled by a concept of judgment or Aristotelian practical wisdom, these methods converge. (shrink)
This article elaborates on the relation between ethical casuistry and common law reasoning. Despite the frequent talk of casuistry as common law morality, remarks on this issue largely remain at the purely metaphorical level. The article outlines and scrutinizes Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin’s version of casuistry and its basic elements. Drawing lessons for casuistry from common law reasoning, it is argued that one generally has to be faithful to ethical paradigms. There are, however, limitations for (...) the binding force of paradigms. The most important limitations—the possibilities of overruling and distinguishing paradigm norms—are similar in common law and in casuistry, or so it is argued. These limitations explain why casuistry is not necessarily overly conservative and conventional, which is one line of criticism to which casuists can now better respond. Another line of criticism has it that the very reasoning from case to case is extremely unclear in casuistry. I suggest a certain model of analogical reasoning to address this critique. All my suggestions to understand and to enhance casuistry make use of common law reasoning whilst remaining faithful to Jonsen and Toulmin’s main ideas and commitments. Further developed along these lines, casuistry can appropriately be called “common law morality.”. (shrink)
Casuistic methods of reasoning in medical ethics have been criticized by a number of authors. At least five main objections to casuistry have been put forward: (1) it requires a uniformity of views that is not present in contemporary pluralistic society; (2) it cannot achieve consensus on controversial issues; (3) it is unable to examine critically intuitions about cases; (4) it yields different conclusions about cases when alternative paradigms are chosen; and (5) it cannot articulate the grounds of its (...) conclusions. Two main versions of casuistry have been put forward, and the responses to these objections depend in part on which version one is defending. Jonsen has advocated a version modeled on the approach to casuistry used by moral theologians in the 15th and 16th century, involving comparison of the case at hand with a single paradigm and a lineup of cases. The present author has advocated another version, drawn from experience with cases in clinical ethics, which involves comparing the case at hand with two or more paradigms. Four of the five objections are unsuccessful when directed against Jonsen'sapproach, and all of them are unsuccessful when directed against the approach involving comparison with two or more paradigms. (shrink)
Health technology assessment (HTA) is often biased in the sense that it neglects relevant perspectives on the technology in question. To incorporate different perspectives in HTA, we should pursue agreement about what are relevant, plausible, and feasible research questions; interactive technology assessment (iTA) might be suitable for this goal. In this way a kind of procedural ethics is established. Currently, ethics too often is focussed on the application of general principles, which leaves a lot of confusion as to what really (...) is the matter in specific cases; in an iTA clashes of values should not be approached by use of such ethics. Instead, casuistry, as a tool used within the framework of iTA, should help to articulate and clarify what is the matter, as to make room for explication and consensus building. (shrink)
This essay argues that the ethics of humanitarian intervention cannot be readily subsumed by the ethics of just war without due attention to matters of political and moral motivation. In the modern era, a just war draws directly from self-benefitting motives in wars of self-defense, or indirectly in wars that enforce international law or promote the global common good. Humanitarian interventions, in contrast, are intuitively admirable insofar as they are other-regarding. That difference poses a challenge to the casuistry of (...) humanitarian intervention because it makes it difficult to reason by analogy from the case of war to the case of humanitarian intervention. The author develops this point in dialogue with Michael Walzer, the U.S. Catholic bishops, and President Clinton. He concludes by showing how a casuistry of intervention is possible, developing a motivational rationale that draws on the Golden Rule. (shrink)
Since the publication of the first edition of Tom Beauchamp and James Childress’s Principles of Biomedical Ethics there has been much debate about what a proper method in medical ethics should look like. The main rival for Beauchamp and Childress’s account, principlism, has consistently been casuistry, an account that recommends argument by analogy from paradigm cases. Admirably, Beauchamp and Childress have modified their own view in successive editions of Principles of Biomedical Ethics in order to address the concerns proponents (...) of casuistry and others have had about principlism. Given these adjustments to their view, some have claimed that principlism and casuistry no longer count as distinct methods. Even so, many still consider these two conceptions of bioethical methodologies as rivals. Both accounts of the relationship between casuistry and principlism are wrong. These two conceptions of methodology in biomedical ethics are significantly different, but the differences are not the ones pointed out by those who still claim that they are distinct positions. In this article, I explain where the real similarities and differences lie between these two views. (shrink)
In this provocative study, Bedau demonstrates the usefulness of "casuistry," or "the method of cases" in arriving at moral decisions. He examines well-known cases, including the aftermath of the sinking of the William Brown in 1841, that compel us to consider questions about who ought to survive when not all can. By doing so, we learn something about how we actually reason concerning such life and death situations, as well as about how we ought to reason if we wish (...) both to be consistent and to properly respect human life. Bedau's elegant book will be a valuable resource for students, philosophers, and general readers. (shrink)
Did the Gulf War defend moral principle or Western oil interests? Is violent pornography an act of free speech or an act of violence against women? In _Casuistry and Modern Ethics_, Richard B. Miller sheds new light on the potential of casuistry—case-based reasoning—for resolving these and other questions of conscience raised by the practical quandaries of modern life. Rejecting the packaging of moral experience within simple descriptions and inflexible principles, Miller argues instead for identifying and making sense of the (...) ethically salient features of individual cases. Because this practical approach must cope with a diverse array of experiences, Miller draws on a wide variety of diagnostic tools from such fields as philosophy of science, legal reasoning, theology, literary theory, hermeneutics, and moral philosophy. Opening new avenues for practical reasoning, Miller's interdisciplinary work will challenge scholars who are interested in the intersections of ethics and political philosophy, cultural criticism, and debates about method in religion and morality. (shrink)
Reproductive counseling includes counseling of prospective parents by obstetricians, clinical geneticists, and genetic counselors regarding, for example, the use of assisted reproductive technologies, prenatal testing, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Two different views on wisdom and the goal of reproductive counseling are analyzed. According to the first view, the goal of reproductive counseling is to help prospective parents reach a wise decision. A specific course of action is recommended by the counselor in contrast to other possible alternatives. According to the second (...) view, the goal of reproductive counseling is not to help prospective parents reach a wise decision but to help them reach their own decision wisely. It is the prospective parents who should make the decision, and it is their value commitments that should be decisive. It is argued that the second approach is to be preferred to the first. It combines respect for autonomy with a recognition of the need for assistance in decision-making. Both the first and second views relate the goal of reproductive counseling to wisdom. A problem is, however, what wisdom more precisely means â there are many different views. A casuistic view of wisdom is investigated. This view roughly defines wisdom as practical prudence in dealing with particular cases. What characterizes a casuistic decision-making method is elaborated in more detail. Applied to the second view, a casuistic view of wisdom implies that the counselor should encourage prospective parents to take into consideration the nature of the particular problem at hand, the context of the problem, their own individual identities, their personal value commitments, and various alternative perspectives, values and arguments. (shrink)
Summary A good deal of the late-twentieth-century commentary on Kant's ?Perpetual Peace? essay accepted its author's view that his conception of cosmopolitan justice had superseded the law of nations, some of whose leading exponents?Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel?Kant characterised as ?miserable comforters?. Focusing on the case of Vattel, in this paper I begin to subject Kant's claim to an historical investigation, asking whether his ?Perpetual Peace? did indeed supersede Vattel's Law of Nations in terms of the actual uses of the texts (...) in a variety of historical contexts. In pointing to an array of evidence against Kant's widely accepted claim, I develop a different and more historical way of assessing the relation between the two writers. Kant, I argue, should be approached as a political metaphysician whose conception of cosmopolitan justice formed part of a factional theological and philosophical attack on the law of nations tradition. Vattel, however, was a diplomatic official whose text operates within the horizon of the European state ensemble and functioned as a summative abstraction of a wide variety of post-Westphalian public-law treaties and diplomatic rules and conventions. This accounts for the wide distribution, use, and influence of Vattel's work in a variety of Anglophone contexts from the late eighteenth century through to the end of the nineteenth, where Kant's text was marginal to discussion. (shrink)
This paper argues that Vattel's Droit des gens cannot be adequately interpreted as based on a philosophical principle, whether of universal justice or of raison d'état. Rather, Vattel unfolds his law of nations within a casuistical discourse where inconsistent principles are deployed strategically. This forms an ethical space in which universal justice can be continuously adapted to the exigencies of national self-interest as interpreted by the diplomat of a Protestant republican nation.
This examination of a fundamental but often neglected aspect of the intellectual history of early modern Europe brings together philosophers, historians and political theorists from Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, France and Germany. Despite the diversity of disciplines and national traditions represented, the individual contributions show a remarkable convergence around three themes: changes in the modes of moral education in early modern Europe, the emergence of new relations between conscience and law (particularly the law of the state), and (...) the shared continuities and discontinuities of both Roman Catholic and Protestant moral culture in relation to their medieval past. (shrink)
In this engaging study, the authors put casuistry into its historical context, tracing the origin of moral reasoning in antiquity, its peak during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, and its subsequent fall into disrepute from the mid-seventeenth century.
This article examines the emergence of casuistical case analysis as a methodological alternative to more theory-driven approaches in bioethics research and education. Focusing on The Abuse of Casuistry by A. Jonsen and S. Toulmin, the article articulates the most characteristic features of this modernday casuistry (e.g., the priority allotted to case interpretation and analogical reasoning over abstract theory, the resemblance of casuistry to common law traditions, the ‘open texture’ of its principles, etc.) and discusses some problems with (...)casuistry as an ‘anti-theoretical’ method. It is argued that casuistry so defined is ‘theory modest’ rather than ‘theory free’ and that ethical theory can still play a significant role in casuistical analysis; that casuistical analyses will encounter conflicting ‘deep’ interpretations of our social practices and institutions, and are therefore unlikely sources of increased social consensus on controversial bioethical questions; that its conventionalism raises questions about casuistry's ability to criticize norms embedded in the societal consensus; and that casuistry's emphasis upon analogical reasoning may tend to reinforce the individualistic nature of much bioethical writing. It is concluded that, notwithstanding these problems, casuistry represents a promising alternative to the regnant model of ‘applied ethics’ (i.e., to the ritualistic invocation of the so-called ‘principles of bioethics’). The pedagogical implications of casuistry are addressed throughout the paper and include the following recommendations: (1) use real cases, (2) make them long, richly detailed and comprehensive, (3) present complex sequences of cases, (4) stress the problem of ‘moral diagnosis’, and (5) be ever mindful of the limits of casuistical analysis. Keywords: casuistry, interpretation, methodology, pedagogy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Principlism has been advocated as an approach to resolving concrete cases and issues in bioethics, but critics have pointed out that a main problem for principlism is its lack of a method for assigning priorities to conflicting ethical principles. A version of principlism referred to as 'specified principlism' has been put forward in an attempt to overcome this problem. However, none of the advocates of specified principlism have attempted to demonstrate that the method actually works in resolving detailed clinical cases. (...) This paper shows that when one tries to use it, specified principlism fails to provide practical assistance in deciding how to resolve concrete cases. Proponents of specified principlism have attempted to defend it by arguing that it is superior to casuistry, but it can be shown that their arguments are faulty. Because of these reasons, specified principlism should not be considered a leading contender in the search for methods of making justifiable decisions in clinical cases. (shrink)
Abstract: This article begins by showing how recent controversies over the widespread promotion of artificially gene-altered foods are rooted in opposing ethical and ideological worldviews. It then explains how these contrasting worldviews have led to a practical, ethical, and ideological standoff and, finally, suggests the combined use of casuistry and virtue ethics as a way for both sides to move ahead on this pressing issue.
Approaches to clinical ethics dilemmas that rely on basic principles or rules are difficult to apply because of vagueness and conflict among basic values. In response, casuistry rejects the use of basic values, and specification produces a large set of specified rules that are presumably easily applicable. Balancing is a method employed to weigh the relative importance of different and conflicting values in application. We argue against casuistry and specification, claiming that balancing is superior partly because it most (...) clearly exhibits the reasoning behind moral decision-making. Hence, balancing may be most effective in teaching bioethics to medical professionals. (shrink)
This article argues for the compatibility of casuistry and the business case method. It describes the salient features of casuistryand the case method, shows how the two methods are similar yet different, and suggests how elements of casuistry might benefit theuse of the case method in management education. Toward these ends, it shows how casuistry and the case method are both inductive and practical methods of reasoning focussed on single settings and real-life situations and how both methods (...) stress that real-life decision making is not the exclusive domain of experts. It also shows how casuistry and the case method are not identical processes but have different purposes and emphasize order and problem-resolution differently. In the end, Casuistry and the Business Case Method suggests that, despite their differences, casuistry and the case method might be brought together to benefit business management and the field of business ethics. (shrink)
: A comparison of casuistry with the strain of particularism developed by John McDowell and David Wiggins suggests that casuistry is susceptible to two very different mistakes. First, as sometimes developed, casuistry tends toward an implausible rigidity and systematization of moral knowledge. Particularism offers a corrective to this error. Second, however, casuistry tends sometimes to present moral knowledge as insufficiently systematized: It often appears to hold that moral deliberation is merely a kind of perception. Such a (...) perceptual model of deliberation cannot offer a convincing account of the possibility of moral progress. This second problem is one to which particularism is itself prone. To redress it, other aspects of casuistry must be exploited: Casuistry contains an account of presumptive generalizations that explains how moral deliberation might be structured by rules while also depending at critical junctures on perception. (shrink)
This essay focuses on how casuistry can become a useful technique of practical reasoning for the clinical ethicist or ethics consultant. Casuistry is defined, its relationship to rhetorical reasoning and its interpretation of cases, by employing three terms that, while they are not employed by the classical rhetoricians and casuists, conform, in a general way, to the features of their work. Those terms are (1) morphology, (2) taxonomy, (3) kinetics. The morphology of a case reveals the invariant structure (...) of the particular case whatever its contingent features, and also the invariant forms of argument relevant to any case of the same sort: these invariant features can be called topics. Taxonomy situates the instant case in a series of similar cases, allowing the similarities and differences between an instant case and a paradigm case to dictate the moral judgment about the instant case. This judgment is based, not merely on application of an ethical theory or principle, but upon the way in which circumstances and maxims appear in the morphology of the case itself and in comparison with other cases. Kinetics is an understanding of the way in which one case imparts a kind of moral movement to other cases, that is, different and sometimes unprecedented circumstances may move certain marginal or exceptional cases to the level of paradigm cases. In conclusion, casuistry is the exercise of prudential or practical reasoning in recognition of the relationship between maxims, circumstances and topics, as well as the relationship of paradigms to analogous cases. (shrink)
This paper examines the methodological problem of casuistry by reference to Immanuel Kant's position on it. He addressed “Casuistical Questions” in his last work on ethics, Metaphysik der Sitten , in order to defend his position against attacks from scholars defending an Aristotelian (and also Ciceronian) eudemonistic viewpoint. It is argued that Kantian casuistry has much in common with the Aristotelian idea of emphasizing the moral objectives and sensibility of an agent in concrete circumstances. Nevertheless, Kant did not (...) entirely adopt the case-oriented ethical perspective because he saw the moral duty as the „wide“ one. Moral duties are wide in the sense that they demand continuous self-examination: asking whether there might be a better way to limit one's maxim by another. According to Kant, although casuistry as a case study could give moral law or duties more practicability through the training of moral judgment, the moral agent cannot use with individual cases in order to modify or devise new moral rules or duties. (shrink)
Bioethical decision-making depends on presuppositions about the function and goal of bioethics. The authors in this issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy share the assumption that bioethics is about resolving cases, not about moral theory, and that the best method of bioethical decision-making is that which produces useful answers. Because we have no universally agreed upon background moral theory which can serve as the basis for bioethical decision-making, they try to move bioethics away from theory. For them, a (...) good method of bioethical decision-making is one which resolves cases in ways that are justifiable to the parties involved, not necessarily in ways that bring us ‘close’ to the right and the true. The authors consider how the move away from theory and toward actual cases is best accomplished. In particular, the debate in this issue is about specification, specified principlism, and casuistry. (shrink)
Linking abstract principles and concrete cases is not always easy. Beginning deductively with ethical theory requires an a priori choice of ethical principles which, when applied, may not take account of the complexity of real problems. But beginning with cases can result in a situationalism in which the normative role of ethical principles is slighted. Casuistry, a case-centered methodology, offers one way to bridge this gap. Casuistry's bottom-up strategy develops policy guidelines out of case analysis, building a middle (...) ground between practice and principle. This article identifies the key features of casuistry and its link to ethical theory. The development of a code of ethics and the use of anonymous sources at a daily newspaper test casuistry's relevance for journalism ethics. (shrink)
Clinical medicine is the application of scientific principles, rules of thumb, and a store of practical wisdom embodied in narratives of individual cases to the care of a person who is ill. Physicians are taught to observe and report the individual case both as a means of fitting nomothetic generalizations to the given circumstances and as a way of refining those generalizations. This narrative construction of illness is a principal way of knowing in medicine. In this view, disease is not (...) so much an entity as an identifiable chronological organization of the events of illness, and medicine, rather than a science, a rational science-using activity in the service of the ill. Keywords: medical epistemology, casuistry, clinical judgment, narrative CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Case methods of reasoning are persuasive, but we need to address problems of bias in order to use them to reach morally justifiable conclusions. A bias is an unwarranted inclination or a special perspective that disposes us to mistaken or one-sided judgments. The potential for bias arises at each stage of a case method of reasoning including in describing, framing, selecting and comparing of cases and paradigms. A problem of bias occurs because to identify the relevant features for such purposes, (...) we must use general views about what is relevant; but some of our general views are biased, both in the sense of being unwarranted inclinations and in the sense that they are one of many viable perspectives. This reliance upon general views to determine relevancy creates additional difficulties for defenders who maintain that case methods of moral reasoning are not only useful, but more basic, reliable or prior to other forms of moral reasoning. If we cannot identify the case's relevant features and issues independently of our general views or biases, we need further explanation about why a case method or casuistry should be viewed as prior to or more basic or reliable than other forms of moral reasoning. Problems of bias also arise for other methods of reasoning. In medical science, case reviews are regarded as an unreliable way to form generalizations, and methods such as clinical trials are used to address bias. (shrink)
For a number of reasons, casuistry has come into vogue in medical ethics. Despite the frequency with which it is avowed, the application of casuistry to issues in medical ethics has been given virtually no systematic defense in the ethics literature. That may be for good reason, since a close examination reveals that casuistry delivers much less than its advocates suppose, and that it shares some of the same weaknesses as the principle-based methods it would hope to (...) supplant. (shrink)
For the last century, moral philosophy has stressed theory for the analysis of moral argument and concepts. In the last decade, interest in the ethical issues of health care has stimulated attention to cases and particular instances. This has revealed the gap between ethical theory and practice. This article reviews the history and method of casuistry which for many centuries provided an approach to practical ethics. Its strengths and weaknesses are noted and its potential for contemporary use explored.
Both the function of one’s conscience, as Thomas Aquinas understands it, and the work of casuistry in general involve deliberating about which universal moral principles are applicable in particular cases. Thus, understanding how conscience can function better also indicates how casuistry might be done better – both on Thomistic terms, at least. I claim that, given Aquinas’ descriptions of certain parts of prudence and the role of moral virtue in practical knowledge, understanding particular cases more as narratives, or (...) parts of narratives, likely will result, all else being equal, in more accurate moral judgments of particular cases. This is especially important in two kinds of cases: first, cases in which Aquinas recognizes universal moral principles do not specify the means by which they are to be followed; second, cases in which the type-identity of an action – and thus the norms applicable to it – can be mistaken. (shrink)
The central question addressed in this paper is about the ethics of engaging with educational development in countries perceived as undemocratic or as failing to respect human rights. More particularly, it examines the nature of the arguments that are brought to bear on this issue. It suggests that these are essentially consequentialist in character and hence fall prey to many of the limitations of such consequentialism, including the unpredictability of what will unfold, the indeterminacy of the consequences and the complex (...) balance sheet of benefits and loss that might be anticipated. The paper also suggests some unease about the way judgements of the acceptability or otherwise of political processes are made across international boundaries and the presumptions of a ‘democratic’ western perspective. The observation of these complexities of principle and fact take the argument into the territory of case-based ethical judgement and the world of casuistry. (shrink)
Several recent attempts to develop models of moral reasoning have attempted to use some form of casuistry as a way to resolve the moral controversies of clinical ethics. One of the best known models of casuistry is that of Jonsen and Toulmin who attempt to transpose a particular model of casuistry, that of Roman Catholic confessional practice, to contemporary moral disputes. This attempt is flawed in that it fails to understand both the history of the model it (...) seeks to transpose and the morally pluralistic context of secular, postmodern society. The practice of casuistry which Jonsen and Toulmin wish to revive is a practice set in the context of a community with a shared set of moral values and structures of moral authority. Without a set of common moral values and rankings, and a moral authority to interpret cases the casuistry of the postmodern age will be pluralistic; that is, there will be many casuistries not just one. Keywords: casuistry, common morality, kinetics, moral authority, moral pluralism, morphology, paradigm cases, taxonomy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Kevin Wildes has recently argued in the Journal that Albert Jonsen's model of casuistry is ill-suited to a secular world context, because this model is rooted in a particular history and because of the moral pluralism of contemporary society in which a content-specific method of moral reasoning cannot readily be deployed. Contra Wildes, two arguments are offered. First, casuistry is not tied exclusively to Roman Catholic theology; casuistry also has deep roots in Classical thought, roots that Jonsen (...) and Toulmin underscore. Second, the context of Roman Catholic theology can be distinguished from the method of casuistry, permitting that method to be deployed successfully in morally pluralistic contexts. Keywords: casuistry, content, Jonsen, method, rhetoric, Toulmin, Wildes CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Martin Calkins proposes the “combined use of casuistry and virtue ethics as a way for both sides to move ahead on [the] pressing issue [of agricultural biotechnology].” However, his defense of this methodology relies on a set of mistaken, albeit familiar, claims regarding the normative resources of virtue ethics: (1) virtue ethics is egoistic; (2) virtue ethics cannot defend any particular account of the virtues as the objectively correct ones and is therefore inextricably relativistic; (3) virtue ethics cannot supply (...) a procedure for providing practical or policy guidance in concrete situations; and (4) virtue ethics cannot adequately account for the possibility of conflicting or partial virtues. After a brief overview of the basic structure of virtue ethics, I take up each of these misconceptions in turn. I conclude with some comments on the implications of these considerations for Calkins’s proposed methodology for addressing theissue of agricultural biotechnology. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to review the recent popularity of casuistry as a model of moral inquiry. I argue that proponents of casuistry do not endorse the particularist epistemology that seems to be implied by their position, and that this is why casuistry does not seem to present something really new in comparison to 'top-down' generalist approaches. I contend that casuistry should develop itself as a (moderately) particularist position and that the challenge for the (...) defender of casuistry is to come up with ideas that strengthen the ('intuitionist') model of rationality that underlies most forms of particularism. (shrink)
The procurement of fetal tissue for transplantation may promise great benefit to those suffering from various pathologies, e.g., neural disorders, diabetes, renal problems, and radiation sickness. However, debates about the use of fetal tissue have proceeded without much attention to ethical theory and application. Two broad moral questions are addressed here, the first formal, the second substantive: Is there a framework from other moral paradigms to assist in ethical debates about the transplantation of fetal tissue? Does the use of fetal (...) tissue entail cooperation in abortion? To answer these questions I develop a theoretical framework by combining the paradigm of just-war reasoning with canons governing the use of cadaverous tissue. The kinds of safeguards provided by this paradigm allow fetal tissue to be procured without the taint of association with abortion. Central to solving the problem of cooperation is the distinction between intending and foreseeing a moral misdeed. Fetal researchers may foresee fetal death in elective abortions without intending such deaths to occur. Thus, even those who object unequivocally to elective abortion may condone the procurement of fetal tissue, if sufficient reason exists. Keywords: fetal tissue, casuistry, prima facie duties, just-war tenets, complicity CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
James Tallmon has argued that my criticisms of Jonsen and Toulmin are ill founded. Tallmon argues that Jonsen and Toulmin argue for a method of rhetorical reasoning and not for a particular content. He argues that if one distinguishes the content and method of casuistry the Jonsen-Toulmin model can work. But Tallmon, like Jonsen and Toulmin, cannot escape the need for casuistry to have a content. Tallmon's response evidences that need since he assumes that there is a ‘Medical (...) Community’ which has a moral vision. Keywords: casuistry, content, Jonsen, method, rhetoric, Tallmon, Toulmin CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
So much philosophical theory is irrelevant for the practice of ethics! How many wasted volumes of tortuous arguments and counterarguments have been written in search of an elusive theory of ethics that could be applied deductively, without modification, to produce “correct” answers under all circumstances to any ethical problem? The practice of ethics is much closer to the common sense casuistry approach outlined by Jonsen and Toulmin, in which we work from. intuitively grasped, paradigm, cases by way of analogy (...) to provide presumptive answers to more complex problems. Alasdair Maclntyre argued however that we cannot trust such individualistic intuitive judgements. Thus we should start by looking at his critique of modern ethics. (shrink)
Milton's status as a political thinker has endured something of a checkered career. Recent scholarship has attended both to the complexity of Milton's character and the classical ideals permeating his political thought. This essay seeks to clarify further Milton's defence of the commonwealth, by situating his polemical writings of 1649 to 1653 in the context of the Engagement debate about the character and extent of loyalty to the new free state. This sheds an interesting and neglected light both on that (...) debate, the presentation of the case of the commonwealth and Milton's distinctive use of casuistry in that presentation. (shrink)
In this engaging study, the authors put casuistry into its historical context, tracing the origin of moral reasoning in antiquity, its peak during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, and its subsequent fall into disrepute from the mid-seventeenth century.
This paper examines the methodological problem of casuistry by reference to Immanuel Kant's position on it. He addressed “Casuistical Questions” in his last work on ethics, Metaphysik der Sitten, in order to defend his position against attacks from scholars defending an Aristotelian eudemonistic viewpoint. It is argued that Kantian casuistry has much in common with the Aristotelian idea of emphasizing the moral objectives and sensibility of an agent in concrete circumstances. Nevertheless, Kant did not entirely adopt the case-oriented (...) ethical perspective because he saw the moral duty as the „wide“ one. Moral duties are wide in the sense that they demand continuous self-examination: asking whether there might be a better way to limit one's maxim by another. According to Kant, although casuistry as a case study could give moral law or duties more practicability through the training of moral judgment, the moral agent cannot use with individual cases in order to modify or devise new moral rules or duties. (shrink)
This dissertation examines the two most popular contemporary revivals of Aristotelian ethics, communitarianism and casuistry. I consider how these two schools of thought which take Aristotle's ethics as their starting point, can seem to be so diametrically opposed. The communitarian approach to ethics, personified by Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Sandel, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel argues that a shared notion of the self or the good life must be sought prior to resolving ethical problems. Conversely, the new casuistic movement, exemplified by (...) the recent work of Albert Jonsen, Stephen Toulmin, and Carson Strong eschews such theoretical baggage in favor of a case-based ethics. By examining each school of thought in the light of their Aristotelian aspirations, namely, their desire to re-establish an ethics based upon prudence that overcomes the fact/value distinction, spurious elements of their rhetoric are rejected. This allows us to see the compatible strains in communitarianism and casuistry and to demonstrate the elements they must borrow from each other in order to be viable approaches to ethical and political philosophy. (shrink)