necessity

/neuh ses"i tee/, n., pl. necessities.
1. something necessary or indispensable: food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
2. the fact of being necessary or indispensable; indispensability: the necessity of adequate housing.
3. an imperative requirement or need for something: the necessity for a quick decision.
4. the state or fact of being necessary or inevitable: to face the necessity of testifying in court.
5. an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something: not by choice but by necessity.
6. a state of being in financial need; poverty: a family in dire necessity.
7. Philos. the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.
8. of necessity, as an inevitable result; unavoidably; necessarily: Our trip to China must of necessity be postponed for a while.
[1325-75; ME necessite < L necessitas, equiv. to necess(e) needful + -itas -ITY]
Syn. 3. demand. See need. 6. neediness, indigence, want.

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In logic and metaphysics, a modal property of a true proposition whereby it is not possible for the proposition to be false and of a false proposition whereby it is not possible for the proposition to be true.

A proposition is logically necessary if it instantiates a law of logic or can be made to instantiate a law of logic through substitution of definitionally equivalent terms. Examples are "It is raining now or it is not raining now" and "All men are human beings" (assuming "men" can be replaced with "male human beings"). Necessary propositions are sometimes said to be true or false (as the case may be) in all possible worlds. A contingently true or false proposition is thus one that is true in some possible worlds and false in others (e.g., "France is a democracy"). All true logically necessary propositions are analytic (see analytic-synthetic distinction) and knowable a priori. Some philosophers recognize a second category of "metaphysically" necessary propositions that are not analytic and generally not a priori; examples include identity statements such as "Water is H2O."

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Necessity — • A strict connection between different beings, or the different elements of a being, or between a being and its existence. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Necessity     Necessity …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • necessity — ne·ces·si·ty n pl ties 1 a: the presence or pressure of circumstances that justify or compel a certain course of action; esp: a need to respond or react to a dangerous situation by committing a criminal act b: an affirmative defense originating… …   Law dictionary

  • Necessity — Ne*ces si*ty, n.; pl. {Necessities}. [OE. necessite, F. n[ e]cessit[ e], L. necessitas, fr. necesse. See {Necessary}.] 1. The quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite; inevitableness; indispensableness. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • necessity — ► NOUN (pl. necessities) 1) the state or fact of being required or indispensable. 2) an indispensable thing. 3) a situation enforcing a particular course: created more by necessity than design. ● necessity is the mother of invention Cf.… …   English terms dictionary

  • necessity — (n.) late 14c., constraining power of circumstances, from O.Fr. necessité need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty (12c.), from L. necessitatem (nom. necessitas) compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • necessity — [nə ses′ətē] n. pl. necessities [ME necessite < OFr nécessité < L necessitas < necesse: see NECESSARY] 1. the power of natural law that cannot be other than it is; natural causation; physical compulsion placed on man by nature; fate 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • necessity — *need, exigency Analogous words: compelling or compulsion, constraining or constraint, obliging or obligation, coercing or coercion (see corresponding verbs at FORCE): indispensableness, requisiteness or requisition, needfulness (see… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • necessity — [n] need, essentiality call, cause, claim, compulsion, demand, desideratum, duress, essence, essential, exaction, exigency, fundamental, godsend*, imperative, indispensability, inevitability, inexorableness, life or death*, must, necessary,… …   New thesaurus

  • necessity — noun 1 fact that sth must happen; sth that cannot be avoided ADJECTIVE ▪ absolute, fundamental (esp. BrE), sheer, vital ▪ Sleep is an absolute necessity for life. ▪ dire, urgent …   Collocations dictionary

  • Necessity — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Necessity >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 involuntariness involuntariness Sgm: N 1 instinct instinct blind impulse Sgm: N 1 inborn proclivity inborn proclivity innate proclivity Sgm: N 1 native tendency native tendency… …   English dictionary for students

  • Necessity — This article is about the definition of necessity according to domestic law. For the concept of necessity in international law, see Military necessity. For logical meanings, see Necessary (disambiguation) and Modal logic …   Wikipedia

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