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Villey, Michel (1914–88)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-T054-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 21, 2021, from

Article Summary

Michel Villey was France’s leading post-war philosopher of law in the ‘natural law’ mode. He aimed to rediscover a distinctively philosophical approach to law rooted in the history both of legal ideas and of legal institutions. Legal institutions he considered to have been uniquely a gift of Greco-Roman civilization to the world. They represent a distinctive domain of human activity, concerned with an objectively just ordering of human relationships as these affect external conduct and the possession and use of things. Villey has in common with legal positivism a belief in the differentiation of the legal, concerned with objective interpersonal relations in their ‘external’ concern with a distribution of things, from morality and from religion with their distinctively ‘internal’ and ‘spiritual’ concerns. In opposition to legal positivism, however, he holds that justice is a concept implicit in the legal, and discountenances positivists’ tendency to reduce law to a simple aggregation of enacted statutes.

Citing this article:
MacCormick, Neil. Villey, Michel (1914–88), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-T054-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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