Front Page Titles (by Subject) II.: —ON THE SAYING NECESSITY HAS NO LAW. - Kant's Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics
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II.: —ON THE SAYING “NECESSITY HAS NO LAW”. - Immanuel Kant, Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics 
Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics, trans. Thomas Kingsmill Abbott, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Dublin, 4th revised ed. (London: Kongmans, Green and Co., 1889).
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—ON THE SAYING “NECESSITY HAS NO LAW”.
There is no casus necessitatis except in the case where an unconditional duty conflicts with a duty which, though perhaps great, is yet conditional; e. g. if the question is about preserving the State from disaster by betraying a person who stands towards another in a relation such as, for example, that of father and son. To save the State from harm is an unconditional duty; to save an individual is only a conditional duty, namely, provided he has not been guilty of a crime against the State. The information given to the authorities may be given with the greatest reluctance, but it is given under pressure, namely, moral necessity. But if a shipwrecked man thrusts another from his plank in order to save his own life, and it is said that he had the right of necessity (i. e. physical necessity) to do so, this is wholly false. For to maintain my own life is only a conditional duty (viz. if it can be done without crime), but it is an unconditional duty not to take the life of another who does not injure me, nay, does not even bring me into peril of losing it. However, the teachers of general civil right proceed quite consistently in admitting this right of necessity. For the sovereign power could not connect any punishment with the prohibition; for this punishment would necessarily be death, but it would be an absurd law that would threaten death to a man if when in danger he did not voluntarily submit to death.—From “Das mag in der Theorie richtig seyn, u. s. w.” (Rosenkr., vii., p. 211.)
[The two cases here considered were probably suggested by Cicero, who quotes them from Hecato, a disciple of Panætius.—De Off. iii. 23.]
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