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Casuistry and Modern Ethics

A Poetics of Practical Reasoning

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.

322 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Philosophy: Ethics

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Religion: Philosophy of Religion, Theology, and Ethics, Religion and Society

Table of Contents

Introduction: Casuistry, Politics, and Moral Complexity
Ch. 1: The Occasions of Casuistry
Ch. 2: Justice, Complicity, and the War against Iraq
Ch. 3: The Case against the Case against Liberalism
Ch. 4: Romantic Casuistry, Holiness, and the Art of Separation
Ch. 5: Popular Catholicism, Humanae vitae, and Ideology in Casuistry
Ch. 6: On Transplanting Human Fetal Tissue
Ch. 7: The Case of Violent Pornography: Mimetic Nihilism and the Eclipse of Differences
Ch. 8: On Not Keeping Religious Studies Pure
Ch. 9: Casuistry, Poetics, and Rhetoric
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