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Deconstruction of the legal personhood of artificial intelligence


Calls to rethink the content of “legal personhood” are increasingly being heard at the present time: to recognize animals, artificial intelligence, etc. as a subject. There are several explanations for this: firstly, a change in ideas about a person and their position in society, and secondly, attempts to rethink the traditional categories of law. Throughout long periods of history, the definition of legal personhood depended on the definition of subjective right; the subjective right was associated with the legally significant will of the person. Consequently, a change in views on the will theory of subjective right inevitably lead to a revision of the content of the person. The main purpose of this article is to determine the essence of the legal personhood. To do this, using the historical method, the evolution of ideas about the legal personhood is revealed. It is argued that Hohfeld’s approach to understanding subjective-legal structures made it possible to look differently at the content of the category of legal personhood: it became possible to recognize animals or artificial intelligence as the owners of various subjective-legal categories. Nevertheless, the logic of modern commentators, as well as supporters of such a flexible approach to the definition of legal personhood, is not free from shortcomings. Using the method of analytical jurisprudence, the author demonstrates the emerging problems.

About the Author

S. K. Stepanov
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University)
Russian Federation

Semen K. Stepanov PhD Student, Department of Private International and Civil Law, Junior Research Fellow, Department of Asset Management

76, ave. Vernadsky, Moscow, Russia, 119454


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