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1. Philosophy The doctrine that probability is a sufficient basis for belief and action, since certainty in knowledge is unattainable.
2. Roman Catholic Church The system of moral theology that applies when the lawfulness of an act is uncertain, by allowing an actor to follow an opinion favoring personal liberty if that opinion is solidly probable, even though an opposing opinion, favoring law, is more probable.

prob′a·bi·list adj. & n.


1. (Philosophy) philosophy the doctrine that although certainty is impossible, probability is a sufficient basis for belief and action
2. (Roman Catholic Church) the principle of Roman Catholic moral theology that in a situation in which authorities differ as to what is the right course of action it is permissible to follow any course which has the support of some authority
ˈprobabilist n, adj
ˌprobabilˈistic adj
ˌprobabilˈistically adv


(ˈprɒb ə bəˌlɪz əm)

1. the doctrine, introduced by the Skeptics, that certainty is impossible and that probability suffices to govern faith and practice.
2. Rom. Cath. Theol. the theory that in cases of moral doubt, a person may follow a sound opinion concerning the lawfulness of an act.
[1835–45; < French]
prob`a•bi•lis′tic, adj.


the doctrine, introduced by the Skeptics and influential in the seiences and social sciences in modified form, that certainty is impossible and that probability suffices to govern belief and action. — probabilist, n.probabilistic, adj.
See also: Philosophy
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.probabilism - a Roman Catholic system of casuistry that when expert opinions differ an actor can follow any solidly probable opinion that he wishes even though some different opinion might be more probable
casuistry - moral philosophy based on the application of general ethical principles to resolve moral dilemmas
2.probabilism - (philosophy) the doctrine that (since certainty is unattainable) probability is a sufficient basis for belief and action
philosophy - the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
philosophical doctrine, philosophical theory - a doctrine accepted by adherents to a philosophy
References in periodicals archive ?
2015) "Problems for Pure Probabilism about Promotion (and a Disjunctive Alternative).
This text defines probabilism thus: "when both opinions are probable, a man may without sinne folow either, if it may be done without preiudice of our neighbour; and if one be lesse probable than the other, yet so long as it is within the compasse of probability, which it is if it have 2 or 3 grave autours [authors] .
The classical-medieval philosophical and theological idea of probabilism offers us a way forward here.
Jim Joyce argues for two amendments to probabilism.
3) The standard case for this variant of probabilism is expected wellbeing maximisation (see e.
The Controversy about Probabilism and the Disagreement about its Use in the Society of Jesus Throughout the Study of Two Authors: Father Pedro de Calatayud (1689-1773) and Father Jeronimo Dutari (1671-1717)
18) James Allen, "Academic Probabilism and Stoic Epistemology," Classical Quarterly 44 (1994): 85-113; Bussels, The Animated Image, 66-71; and Michael Frede, "Stoic Epistemology," in The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, ed.
Most histories of the topic suggest that, during the same period, in the realm of moral theology, Jesuit-promoted probabilism was the only game in town.
A succession of paradigms in ecology: essentialism to materialism and probabilism.
In Matthew Wickman's words, probabilism worked "to render alterity familiar, to make the contingent seem predictable, and to subdue the unforeseeable .
Probabilism and fuzziness can describe much more than events.
The approach has enjoyed some significant successes so far, providing justifications for the following putative epistemic norms: Probabilism and its variants; Conditionalization; the Principal Principleand norms governing epistemic disagreement.