Exposing the corporate myth: A re-thinking of the legal conception of corporate personhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-30
Identifier: 
etd21174
Keywords: 
Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Corporations
Corporate rights
Abstract: 

This thesis provides a critical view of the way the Supreme Court of Canada (the “SCC”) has applied rights and freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) to corporations. I argue that a close reading of SCC cases involving corporations seeking protections under the Charter reveals that the SCC is bound by a conception of corporate personhood that binds judicial decision-making. This result seems to stem from the SCC’s unconscious use of language that is consistent with Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. This results in a slavish commitment to revealing the truth of corporations and applying the Charter accordingly. In place of this, I argue that Wittgenstein’s subsequent approach to language in the Philosophical Investigations helps reveal that corporations are not objects with internal states of affairs; rather, “corporation persons” is just another language game. Seeing language this way helps do away with a commitment to truth about corporations and frees the SCC to see them as economic tools that are subject to our control.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Samir Gandesha
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
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