Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX TO THE INTRODUCTION. OF LAW EQUIVOCAL. - The Metaphysics of Ethics
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APPENDIX TO THE INTRODUCTION. OF LAW EQUIVOCAL. - Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Ethics 
The Metaphysics of Ethics by Immanuel Kant, trans. J.W. Semple, ed. with Iintroduction by Rev. Henry Calderwood (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886) (3rd edition).
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APPENDIX TO THE INTRODUCTION.
Law, strictly so called, always implies the power to co-act. But people have fancied to themselves law in some broader sense, where the title to co-act is indefinite, and quite indeterminable. Of this kind there have been usurped two sorts, equity and necessity: the former is alleged to be a law which has no co-action, but the latter is a co-action (necessity) which has no law; and the difficulty springs from this, that they are cases of opaque law, to decide which no judge can be constituted.
Equity, considered in itself, does not in any wise address itself to the ethical duty of another; for he who vindicates his property on this head, stands upon his own right; but he is unable to assign the data which would empower the judge to decide his cause: for example, a servant who has contracted with his superior for a certain hire, may, at the expiry of his service, come to receive wages in coin greatly depreciated, though nominally the same in value; and the same would occur in loans, or in any other money contract, where the debtor holds himself entitled to exact payment higher in proportion to the depreciation of the currency; but he has no claim in law, and sees himself forced to call on equity for aid, a mute goddess, who returns no response: and unless parties have guarded against contingencies by the specific stipulations of their contract, a judge can give no relief, for he cannot pronounce sentence upon vague and indefinite conditions.
Hence it follows, that a court of equity (in a question about the rights of man) is a contradiction and absurdity. There alone, where the proper rights of the judge are involved, ought he to give ear to the dictates of equity. Thus the Crown may equitably take upon itself the losses sustained by others on its behalf, and ought, when called upon to do so, to indemnify the subject; although, in point of law, the Crown might urge that the subject had, at his own risk singly, undertaken its defence.
The motto of equity is, Summum jus summa injuria, extreme law is extreme injustice; but this inconvenience cannot be remedied by law, although the claim is a claim of right. The other part of Ethic alone teaches, to deem the rights of man sacred and inviolable.
This alleged right is that title which a man is supposed to have, of killing another who has done him no harm, provided he cannot otherwise extricate himself from danger. And here it seems that law is repugnant to itself. For this is not the case of an assassin whom I am allowed to anticipate, by consigning him to death; but of alleged violence which I am entitled to use against another from whom I have received no wrong.
This assertion, it is plain, does not refer to any given law, but respects the sentence which judges must pronounce when such a case of necessity is carried before them; for there can be no law adjudging death to him who in a case of shipwreck knocks another from an oar, which is barely sufficient to save himself. The punishment threatened by the law cannot be made higher than the loss of life, already impending over him. A statute can, therefore, have no effect in such a crisis; for the punishment being uncertain, cannot outweigh the dread of death, which is instant and certain. The law sees itself in this way forced to consider violent self-preservation, not as devoid of blame, but as incapable of being punished. And this impunity, resulting entirely from the accidental nature of the case, has been constantly mistaken by jurists for an impunity founded in the nature of the law itself, i.e., the action has been regarded as just and blameless.
The motto of necessity is, Necessity has no law. However, there never can be any case, making the unjust and wrong justifiable before the law.