The (dis) continuity between natural law, natural law and human rights in Villey and Hervada


  • Petar Popović Pontificia Università della Santa Croce



juridical realism, right, natural right, natural law, human right


While the majority of contemporary jusnaturalist philosophers of law focus on the search for the foundations of human rights in the natural law, Villey and Hervada take the concept of natural right as the starting point of their realistic conception of right, within their research of the juridical aspects of human nature. While seeking to grasp the meaning of natural right from the perspective of the essence of right as the “ipsa res iusta”, they evaluate the structural position of the natural law — in its juridical domain — with regard to natural right. After identifying the natural title of natural rights in the juridical aspect of natural law, Villey and Hervada present their respective theories on the correlation between natural right and the human rights. Somewhat surprisingly, the theories of human rights of these two authors, at first sight, lead to very different results. While Hervada perceives a structural continuity between human rights, on one hand, and the natural rights and natural law, on the other, Villey maintains that such continuity cannot be established.