Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste

Legal Person

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_810-1


Legal personhood is a foundational concept of Western legal thought, yet one which has often been ignored in theorizing. It has recently become a topical notion, given the increasing scholarly, political, and wider interest in whether, for instance, nonhuman animals, natural objects, and artificial intelligences should be endowed with legal personhood. Legal personhood is most often explained in terms of the Orthodox View, which equates legal personhood with the holding of legal rights and/or duties. However, some scholars have (implicitly or explicitly) departed from this Orthodox View of legal personhood.

This entry will first introduce the central doctrines and terminology surrounding legal personhood; then go through the history of the notion; give an overview of certain contested issues; and conclude.

Doctrine and Terminology

Western legal systems share certain central doctrinal features regarding legal personhood. First, legal persons are normally divided into natural...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marcelo Galuppo
    • 1
  • Vitor Medrado
    • 2
  1. 1.College of LawFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Pontifical Catholic University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil