THE CORPORATION IS NOT A PERSON

Nir Eisikovits

Nir Eisikovits

Eisikovits Nir (1972–), a citizen of Israel, is a doctoral student in philosophy at Boston University. He is writing his dissertation on Inter-group reconciliation and sympathy. He is an attorney licensed to practice by the Israeli bar and a captain in the Israeli reserves.

He prepared an article originally entitled Forensick, Grammatical, and Corporate Persons: A Family Relationship (Boston 2002).

“The edification of the corporation to the status of person is one of the most enduring institutions of the law and one of the most widely accepted legal fictions” (Sanford A. Schane).

One of the most widely accepted legal fictions proclaims that ‘the corporation is a person’.1 Law treats companies as if they were real people. It bestows on them constitutional protections on the one hand, and holds them criminally and civilly responsible on the other. This paper is an attempt to explore the relationship between the notion of corporate personality and the accounts of personal identity given by Locke and Hume. It argues that these accounts provide a framework in which it is coherent to view a corporation as a real person. In other words, it argues that corporate persons are both Lockean and Humean. Parts I and II introduce Locke and Hume’s theories respectively. Part III provides an exposition of corporate personhood. Part IV attempts to outline the connections.

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