11.05.2021, Tuesday, 5:30 PM (UTC +2)

The Alexis de Tocqueville Center of Political and Legal Thought is happy to announce a lecture by Dr. Visa AJ Kurki (University of Helsinki)


A Theory of Legal Personhood’: The Central Themes

The lecture will discuss the main tenets of Dr Kurki’s recent award-winning book ‘A Theory of Legal Personhood’ (OUP 2019). Legal personhood is a foundational notion of Western law. A legal person has traditionally been defined as an entity that has legal rights and/or duties. This understanding of legal personhood lies in the background when we discuss topics such as animal rights, rights of nature or the legal status of AIs. In the talk, Dr Kurki will criticise this traditional view of legal personhood and offer his alternative theory. It will be argued that legal personhood should be understood as a cluster property. Thus, we can even say that animals already hold legal rights without being legal persons.

Dr Visa AJ Kurki is a Finnish legal scholar and philosopher, currently an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellow at the Law Faculty of the University of Helsinki. He completed his PhD in 2017 at the Law Faculty of the University of Cambridge. His doctoral dissertation on legal personhood was awarded the Yorke Prize and the Salje Medal. It was published by Oxford University Press in 2019, and made Open Access in 2020. The book was described as “an instant classic” in the Modern Law Review. In addition to legal personhood, his interests include animal law, rights theory and social ontology.

The Lecture will be held online vis MS Teams: Click here to join the meeting

The book is available at: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-theory-of-legal-personhood-9780198844037

The lecture will be delivered as part of the series Tocquevillian Lectures: Philosophy, Society, and Law. The series aims at reasonable reflection on values and issues of the public concern, based on new, cutting-edge monographs. We invite authors whose work either generates new important questions, or answers the persistent ones in a fresh way. The lectures then reflect a wide range of scholarly perspectives and methodologies. Keeping a necessary distance from current politics, the organizers hope to trigger principled reflection on law in a broader philosophical and cultural context.