different between necessitation vs necessity




necessit +? -ation


necessitation (countable and uncountable, plural necessitations)

  1. (chiefly philosophy) Necessity, understood as a logical or other philosophical principle, or as a law or force of nature.
    • 1894, J. G. Schurman, "The Consciousness of Moral Obligation," The Philosophical Review, vol. 3, no. 6, p. 641:
      Moral obligation is not necessitation. The moral law commands but does not coerce us.
    • 1896, J. Clark Murray, "The Idealism of Spinoza," The Philosophical Review, vol. 5, no. 5, p. 485:
      The voluntary actions of men are now seen to claim an equal freedom from the necessitation of natural causes.
    • 1957, J. W. N. Watkins, "Between Analytic and Empirical," Philosophy, vol. 32, no. 121, p. 114:
      Determinism is an example: it alleges that all the seeming irregularities and spontaneities in the world are haunted by an omnipresent system of strict necessitation.
    • 2001, Eric Marcus, "Mental Causation: Unnaturalized but Not Unnatural," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 63, no. 1, p. 79:
      In virtue of their contents, psychological states stand in logical relations like incompatibility, material implication, and conceptual necessitation.

Usage notes

  • Necessitude, necessitousness, necessitation, necessariness are all nouns closely related to necessity, but they tend to have narrower ranges of usage than necessity. The principal sense of necessitude and necessitousness is impoverishment, but the plural form of the former (necessitudes) denotes a set of circumstances which is inevitable or unavoidable. Necessitation is used to suggest necessity as a philosophical or cosmic principle. Necessariness tends to be used to stress a direct connection to the adjective necessary.

Related terms

  • necessitate

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From Middle English necessite, from Old French necessite, from Latin necessit?s (unavoidableness, compulsion, exigency, necessity), from necesse (unavoidable, inevitable); see necessary.


  • IPA(key): /n??s?s?ti/


necessity (countable and uncountable, plural necessities)

  1. The quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite.
  2. The condition of being needy; desperate need; lack.
    • 1863, Richard Sibbes, The Successful Seeker, in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, D.D., Volume VI, James Nichol, page 125,
      For it is in vain for a man to think to seek God in his necessity and exigence, if he seek not God in his ordinances, and do not joy in them.
  3. Something necessary; a requisite; something indispensable.
    • 20th century, Tenzin Gyatso (attributed)
      Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
  4. Something which makes an act or an event unavoidable; an irresistible force; overruling power.
    • 1804, Wordsworth, The Small Celandine
      I stopped, and said with inly muttered voice,
      'It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
      This neither is its courage nor its choice,
      But its necessity in being old.
  5. The negation of freedom in voluntary action; the subjection of all phenomena, whether material or spiritual, to inevitable causation; necessitarianism. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  6. (law) Greater utilitarian good; used in justification of a criminal act.
  7. (law, in the plural) Indispensable requirements (of life).


  • (state of being necessary): inevitability, certainty


  • (state of being necessary): impossibility, contingency
  • (something indispensable): luxury

Derived terms

Related terms


Further reading

  • necessity in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • necessity in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.


  • cysteines

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