Catholic Probabilism - Formulation and Opposed Views

Formulation and Opposed Views

Probabilism is one way of approaching difficult matters of conscience. In such cases, according to probabilism, one may safely follow a doctrine approved by a recognized Doctor of the Church, even if the opposite opinion is more probable as judged by other considerations, such as scientific considerations or many other recognized authoritative opinions.

A more radical view, "minus probabilissimus", holds that an action is permissible if a single opinion allowing that action is available, even if the overwhelming weight of opinion proscribes it. This view was advanced by the Spanish theologian Bartolomé de Medina (1527–1581) and defended by many Jesuits such as Luis Molina (1528–1581). It was heavily criticised by Blaise Pascal in his Provincial Letters as leading to moral laxity.

Opposed to probabilism are:

  • probabiliorism (Latin probabilior, "more likely"), which holds that when there is a preponderance of evidence on one side of a controversy one is obliged to follow that side
  • tutiorism (Latin tutior, "safer"), which holds that in case of doubt one must take the morally safer side

Read more about this topic:  Catholic Probabilism

Famous quotes containing the words views, formulation and/or opposed:

    The absolute things, the last things, the overlapping things, are the truly philosophic concerns; all superior minds feel seriously about them, and the mind with the shortest views is simply the mind of the more shallow man.
    William James (1842–1910)

    You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty: the uncertainty ceasing interest ceases also.... But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty: without certainty, without formulation there is no interest;... the clearer the formulation the greater the interest.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

    I should say that he was an old-fashioned man in his respect for the Constitution, and his faith in the permanence of this Union. Slavery he deemed to be wholly opposed to these, and he was its determined foe.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)