Animals, Slaves, and Corporations: Analyzing Legal Thinghood

German Law Journal 18 (5):1070-1090 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The Article analyzes the notion of legal “thinghood” in the context of the person–thing bifurcation. In legal scholarship, there are numerous assumptions pertaining to this definition that are often not spelled out. In addition, one’s chosen definition of “thing” is often simply taken to be the correct one. The Article scrutinizes these assumptions and definitions. First, a brief history of the bifurcation is offered. Second, three possible definitions of “legal thing” are examined: Things as nonpersons, things as rights and duties, and things as property. The first two definitions are rejected as not being very interesting or serving any heuristic function. Conversely, understanding legal things as property is meaningful, useful, and helps to understand what it means to say that animals are legally things. Defining things as property has certain rather important implications, which are analyzed at the end of the Article. For instance, not everything needs to be either a person or a thing: The historical institution of outlawry involved treating individuals neither as legal persons nor as legal things. One must conclude that the person–thing bifurcation is less fundamental than is often assumed.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Excavating Foundations of Legal Personhood: Fichte on Autonomy and Self-Consciousness.Susanna Lindroos-Hovinheimo - 2015 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 28 (3):687-702.
We ’re All Infected: Legal Personhood, Bare Life and The Walking Dead‘.Mitchell Travis - 2015 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 28 (4):787-800.
Legal Personhood and the Firm: Avoiding Anthropomorphism and Equivocation.David Gindis - 2016 - Journal of Institutional Economics 12 (3):499-513..
Kantian Ethics, Animals, and the Law.Christine M. Korsgaard - 2013 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 33 (4):629-648.


Added to PP

909 (#8,514)

6 months
101 (#8,301)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Visa A. J. Kurki
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

Legal Personhood and Animal Rights.Visa Kurki - 2021 - Journal of Animal Ethics 11 (1):47-62.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references