Legal Personhood and the Firm: Avoiding Anthropomorphism and Equivocation
Journal of Institutional Economics, 12(3): 499-513, 2016
26 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2015 Last revised: 26 Jan 2017
Date Written: May 31, 2015
From the legal point of view, "person" is not co-extensive with "human being." Nor is it synonymous with "rational being" or "responsible subject." Much of the confusion surrounding the issue of the firm’s legal personality is due to the tendency to address the matter with only these, all too often conflated, definitions of personhood in mind. On the contrary, when the term "person" is defined in line with its original meaning as "mask" worn in the legal drama, it is easy to see that it is only the capacity to attract legal relations that defines the legal person. This definition, that avoids the undesirable emotional associations and equivocations that often plague the debate, is important for a legally-grounded view of the firm.
Keywords: legal person, rational being, responsible subject, point of imputation, legally-grounded view of the firm
JEL Classification: D02; D23; K22; L20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation