Sine qua non  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sine qua non (pronounced Template:IPA-en, Template:IPA-la) or condicio sine qua non (plural: conditiones sine quibus non) refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient. It was originally a Latin legal term for "[a condition] without which it could not be," or "but for..." or "without which [there is] nothing."

As a Latin term, it occurs in the work of Boethius, and originated in Aristotelian expressions. In recent times it has passed from a merely legal usage to a more general usage in many languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. In Classical Latin the correct form uses the word condicio (from the verb condico, condicere, to agree upon), but nowadays the phrase is sometimes used with conditio, which has a different meaning in Latin ("seasoning" from the verb condio, condire, to season, to spice, to pickle, or "foundation" from the verb condo, condere, to lay, to establish). The phrase is also used in economics, philosophy and medicine.

An example of the term's usage was annotated in H. W. Brands' biography of Andrew Jackson. The book included a toast given by Jackson on the occasion of his receiving an honorary doctorate from Harvard University. The President responded to his listeners, "E pluribus unum, my friends. Sine qua non." A recent example comes from Javier Solana who said that the arrest of Radovan Karadžić was sine qua non for Serbia joining the European Union and "it has been a very important step to move closer to Europe." Template:Citation needed

It also appears in the commentary on Article 59 of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians during a time of war. In this case the sine qua non refers to the assurance that relief aid will go to the civilian population and not be diverted towards "the benefit of the Occupying Power."

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sine qua non" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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