Necessity

What is “the law of necessity”? In particular, is necessity an excuse or a justification? This post assembles our previous musings on this subject:

  1. Intro: Three theories of necessity.
  2. Part 1: Necessity as an ex post exception.
  3. Part 2: Necessity as a source of law.
  4. Part 3: Necessity: a third view.
  5. Conclusion: Necessity as a conjecture.

In brief, we can view necessity narrowly as an ex post exception to violations of law, or we can view necessity broadly as an ex ante independent source of law. In the alternative, we can take an intermediary position and view necessity as a legal gap filler, i.e. a concept that applies only when our sources of positive law (the law on the books) are silent, conflicting, or otherwise vague and ambiguous. The larger and more difficult question is this: how do we go about testing the truth value of a legal theory?

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