Diving in the deep end of casuistry; An inquiry into assumptions and consistency in classical and contemporary forms of casuistry.
Koningsbrugge, L.W. van
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In this Master's Thesis the applied ethical method of casuistry will be investigated and discussed. I will first investigate casuistry as Albert Jonson and Stephen Toulmin advocate in their book The Abuse of Casuistry, followed by a brief overview of some contemporary uses of the method. Then I will discuss problems concerning casuistry, by looking at two criteria; consistency and moral justification. It turns out there are some significant problems that may render this method unusable, and that may be impossible to solve within casuistry. Among other things, casuistry is lacking in specification and justification, the concept of practical wisdom is problematic, and there seems to be a clash of two core assumptions of the method. It seems at least some of these problems are unsolvable, but the insights this discussion provides may help develop an applied ethical method that will be consistent and morally justified. However, the discussed problems may also indicate a problem within the entire field of applied ethics, namely a lack of explanation/specification and justification. This may pose a threat to any practice within this field, and should be investigated further, or at least kept in mind when doing 'applied ethics'.