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

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
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.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Gandesha, Samir
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