It has sometimes been thought of as an outward law, sometimes as an inward disposition; and each of these rival conceptions has developed a casuistical method of its own.
Soon after the introduction of the literary journal in England, one of a more familiar tone was started by the eccentric John Dunton in the Athenian Gazette, or Casuistical Mercury, resolving all the most Nice and Curious Questions (1689-1690 to 1695-1696), afterwards called The Athenian Mercury, a kind of forerunner of Notes and Queries, being a penny weekly sheet, with a quarterly critical supplement.
Cicero shows that he was much interested in casuistical questions, as, for example, whether a good man who had received a coin which he knew to be bad was justified in passing it on to another.
In his casuistical works he was a diligent compiler, whose avowed design was to take a middle course between the two current extremes of severity and laxity.
In this way the utilitarian method is freed from the subversive tendencies which Butler and others had discerned in it; as used by Paley, it merely explains the current moral and jural distinctions, exhibits the obvious basis of expediency which supports most of the received rules of law and morality and furnishes a simple solution, in harmony with common sense, of some perplexing casuistical questions.
Medieval economics was little more than a casuistical system of elaborate and somewhat artificial rules of conduct.
The article makes no attempt to give a detailed, casuistical examination of the matter of ethical theory.