The Metaphysics and Politics of Corporate Personhood

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


This paper consists of brief critical comments on Chapter 8, “Personifying Group Agents”, of Christian List’s and Philip Pettit’s book Group Agency (2011). A first set of objections concerns the chapter’s history of ideas. List and Pettit present the history of the idea of corporate personhood as divided between “intrinsicist” and “performative” conceptions. I argue that this distinction does not fit with the historical record and that it makes important political and legal divides and battles invisible. A second set of criticisms builds on perspectives provided by the sociology of knowledge and by John Dewey. My guiding thought here is that “person”, at least when the term is applied to groups, is what political scientists call an “essentially contested concept”. My third set of comments targets the rudimentary political philosophy of List’s and Pettit’s book. I suggest that List’s and Pettit’s corporate personhood theory turns out to be normatively irrelevant; that their concept of “respect” is marred by an ambiguity; and that it remains unclear how their work constitutes progress in guarding against corporate power.

Seiten (von - bis)1587-1600
FachzeitschriftErkenntnis: an international journal of analytic philosophy
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Okt. 2014

ÖFOS 2012

  • 603113 Philosophie