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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fight against scrupulosity in the early modern period matters to understand why the Jesuits emphasized so strongly the need to promote freedom, or for that matter, why they became such fierce proponents of the doctrine of moral probabilism. (53)
The philosophy section ranges through fourteenth-century nominalism and probabilism (with two papers on Jean Buridan), medieval understandings of Augustine on lying, and realist philosophies of truth from the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries.
(2015) "Problems for Pure Probabilism about Promotion (and a Disjunctive Alternative)." Philosophical Studies 172, no.
These arguments are specifically couched in terms of probabilism, a branch of casuistry.
Robert Maryks places a Jesuit rhetoric in the larger historical context, using the lens of ethical systems, following the Jesuits as they negotiated this key part of Christian education, drawing upon Ciceronian rhetoric, probabilism, and the practice of casuistry.
The classical-medieval philosophical and theological idea of probabilism offers us a way forward here.
Now, the norm of probabilism and the norm of chance are in competition in the following sense: while it is true that, in complying with the norm of chance, we also comply with the norm of probabilism, in complying with the norm of probabilism we may violate the norm of chance.
(3) The standard case for this variant of probabilism is expected wellbeing maximisation (see e.g.
on Probabilism: "Probabilisme," Dictionnaire de Theologie
(13) Bruno de Finetti, "Probabilism: A Critical Essay on the Theory of Probability and on the Value of Science," Erkenntnis 31, nos.