Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Necessity
(836 words)

In the tradition of Aristotelian terminological analysis, necessity (Greek anánke, Latin necessitas) as a modal category was from Greco-Roman antiquity on the opposite of contingency [9]. Necessity, then, was understood as that which either ontologically (i.e. in respect of entities like gods or nature) or logically (i.e. in respect of statements) could neither be nor be thought otherwise. In the Middle Ages, God was seen as the ens necessarium (“necessary being”). In his creation, necessity and freedom pervaded one another (Necessitas).

In the early modern period, howeve…

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Lehmann-Brauns, Sicco, “Necessity”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 30 May 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_024866>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128



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