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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 ?
1) Traditionally, most consequentialists subscribe to one of two camps: either they are actualists or they are probabilists.
54) As a way out, probabilists sometimes assert that the ignorant inquirer should start in the middle where the probabilities of true and false under the applicable standard of proof are both fifty percent.
One of the dependence structure that has attracted the interest of probabilists and statisticians is negatively associated, which is first introduced by Alam and Saxena [1], and carefully studied by Joag-Dev and Proschan [9] and Block et al.
26) Finally Lottin attacks the probabilists in particular, calling their command of the field of moral theology "profoundly regrettable," noting that the probabilists never instructed the laity to be virtuous; all they did was offer a variety of actions as not sinful, that is, as permitted.
harsh volleys between the probabilists and their critics.
The Network will involve physicists, mathematicians, statisticians, probabilists, biologists, immunologists and engineers.
Daston (1983) has argued that during the seventeenth century mathematical probabilists such as Huygens originally couched probability in terms of expectations because games of chance were perceived as a subset of aleatory contracts, which were any agreement involving an element of risk (e.
The theory of random matrices plays an important role in many areas of pure mathematics and uses a variety of sophisticated mathematical tools that can present formidable obstacles to both newcomers and expert probabilists.
In France, he was the major reference at the interface between mathematics and computer science and founded the "Alea" meetings that bring together combinatorialists, probabilists and physicists to share problems and methods involving discrete randomness.
This volume collects 25 seminal papers by Japanese mathematician Masatoshi Fukushima, "one of the most influential probabilists of our times," according to the editors, whose "fundamental work on Dirichlet forms and Markov processes made Hilbert space methods a tool in stochastic analysis andaopened the way to several new developments.
Given the scientific fact-finder's claim to formal objectivity, the Bayesian process is ironically totally dependent upon the intuition that probabilists eschew as fuzzy and unreliable, and which statistical evidence ostensibly allows fact-finders to avoid.
The probabilists, on the contrary, maintained that a moral exigency to follow the most probable opinion did not exist, given that in moral matters such an obligation could not be imposed on man by necessity.

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