It is not unlike the procedure of the canonists and casuists of the middle ages with regard to the doctrine of usury, by which the doctrine was to all appearances preserved intact while in reality it was stripped of all its original meaning by innumerable distinctions " over-curious and precise."
Compare the fine distinctions drawn by the casuists and attacked by Pascal in the twelfth of the Provincial Letters.
These deal with the casuists of the Counter - Reformation in the spirit of Milton, laying especial stress on the artificiality of their methods and the laxity of their results.
Thus caught between two fires the casuists developed a highly ingenious method, not unlike that of the Roman Stoics, for eviscerating the substance of a rule while leaving its shadow carefully intact.
Conscience is the best of casuists; it is only when men wish to cheat it that they fly to logical quibbles."