Casuistry As A Decision Making Tool – Rhoads Life Coaching

I’m a little late to the game. I recently discovered Malcom Gladwell’s podcast, “Revisionist History“. In Season 4 he spends three episodes re-discovering the Jesuit decision making tool of casuistry.

As a methods of moral decision making, casuistry was misused in the 18th and 19th centuries by rationalizing and excusing any behavior. That is not my intent (nor was it Gladwell’s) in bringing it forward today. It was originally developed as a way of seeing the individual and their problems in a novel dilemma.

Casuistry asks for a pause and a drilling down into the details of a problem. It is intended for use in circumstances that haven’t been experienced before. First, stop and investigate the details before applying a broad principle to a decision. It asks for a “decent into the particulars”. Something we don’t do very often in our fast-paced lives.

Most importantly casuistry asks us to listen to the details “free of disordered detachments”; without preconceived biases. What would it take for you to listen in our current environment without bias? Maybe that is part of the problem!

Finally, casuistry looks for previous examples that compare to the current new scenario in order to assist with making a decision. The request is for the decision to take into account the combined information.

My request is to consider using casuistry as a tool. Where are you applying broad principles and skipping over the details? Where are you entering into a conversation with your biases front and center? Given some of the new challenges we face in our families, businesses, and communities right now, it might be worth a try. –

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