• WordNet 3.6
    • n casuistry moral philosophy based on the application of general ethical principles to resolve moral dilemmas
    • n casuistry argumentation that is specious or excessively subtle and intended to be misleading
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Casuistry Sophistical, equivocal, or false reasoning or teaching in regard to duties, obligations, and morals.
    • Casuistry The science or doctrine of dealing with cases of conscience, of resolving questions of right or wrong in conduct, or determining the lawfulness or unlawfulness of what a man may do by rules and principles drawn from the Scriptures, from the laws of society or the church, or from equity and natural reason; the application of general moral rules to particular cases. "The consideration of these nice and puzzling question in the science of ethics has given rise, in modern times, to a particular department of it, distinguished by the title of casuistry .""Casuistry in the science of cases (i.e., oblique deflections from the general rule)."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n casuistry In ethics, the solution of special problems of right and duty by the application of general ethical principles or theological dogmas; the answering of questions of conscience. In the history of Jewish and Christian theology, casuistry has often degenerated into hair-splitting and sophistical arguments, in which questions of right and wrong were construed to meet selfish aims.
    • n casuistry Hence Over-subtle and dishonest reasoning; sophistry.
    • n casuistry In medicine, a recent, rare, and improper use for casuistics.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Casuistry the science or doctrine of cases of conscience, or the reasoning which enables a man to decide in a particular case between apparently conflicting duties
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. casuiste—L. casus. See Case.


In literature:

Casuistry may not be my strong point.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition" by Robert Louis Stevenson
And now I have said more than I had intended on a question of casuistry.
"Apologia Pro Vita Sua" by John Henry Cardinal Newman
We must not be deceived by his casuistries.
"A Book of Burlesques" by H. L. Mencken
This reasoning may seem to many persons mere casuistry, mere sophistical juggling with words.
"The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice" by Stephen Leacock
This casuistry cousin heeded not.
"Lines in Pleasant Places" by William Senior
In the Jewish notions of marriage we see already the beginning of the later casuistry.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
But it would be little less than a crime to involve the simple soul of Tim Gorman in the maze of two separate kinds of casuistry.
"Gossamer" by George A. Birmingham
A strange piece of casuistry indeed!
"The New Hudson Shakespeare: Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare
Ambrose Gifford had, no doubt, by subtle casuistry persuaded himself that he was doing good to the boy.
"Penshurst Castle" by Emma Marshall
For instance, fidelity to a trust is a law of immutable morality subject to no casuistry whatever.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 57, No. 351, January 1845" by Various

In news:

The principle at work here is casuistry, in the proper sense of that term.
Under casuistry, a just society adheres to certain moral norms.
Soledad's Sophistry And the casuistry of cable-TV fact-checking.