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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 ?
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.
Probabilism is the view that a rational agent's credences should always be probabilistically coherent.
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.
Although not framed with this language, summit participants seemed to embrace the third perspective, that of architectural probabilism, which suggests that behavior is not predictable and that the probability of behavior responses can be enhanced with thoughtful design.
Indeed, Alonso-Lasheras associates the absence of "the authority concept of participation in God's mind" with the important moral doctrine of probabilism, which taught that, in the face of moral uncertainty, one might follow a probable opinion, even if the opposite opinion is more probable.
13) As it well known, the current science tendency to move from determinism to probabilism gives the opportunity to science to make better theories.
Nor is this merely a limited case-study; Grendler's excellent grasp of context allows us to grasp how the Jesuits at Mantua struggled to reconcile their curriculum with contemporary debates about Aristotelianism, moral probabilism, and the very nature of pedagogy, as well as how the tempestuous politics of the time affected almost every aspect of life for the Gonzaga and their subjects alike.
Saint Cicero and the Jesuits: The Influence of the Liberal Arts on the Adoption of Moral Probabilism.