To play the casuist
- a person who is competent in or provided to casuistry
- someone whose thinking is refined and often specious
- a person who is competent in, or provided to, casuistry.
- to relax and play the casuist.
c.1600, "one whom scientific studies and resolves instances of conscience," from French casuiste (17c.) or Spanish casuista (the French word also could be from Spanish), Italian casista, all from Latin casus (see case (n.1)) with its Medieval Latin feeling "instance of conscience." Usually since 17c. in a sinister or contemptuous good sense. Relevant: Casuistic; casuistical; casuistically; casuistry. Casuistry ... destroys, by differences and exclusions, all morality, and effaces the primary distinction between correct and wrong. [Bolingbroke, 1736]
The legal is the older group, and to it the name of casuist is often exclusively reserved, generally with the implication that its methods are too purely technical to commend themselves to mankind at large.