The Instigator
Lightkeeper
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

Corporations and other legal entities will continue to exist even after the world ends

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Ragnar_Rahl
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,641 times Debate No: 5429
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

Lightkeeper

Pro

This subject relates to legal persons (corporations). They come into existence when they become registered as corporations. They continue to exist until they are unincorporated (in other words struck off the register).

The existence of a corporation is not dependent on its ability to trade. It's not dependent on the existence of a director or a shareholder. Even if in order to incorporate a company those things are required, they are not required for the company's continued existence.

Corporations do not need to own assets in order to continue to exist. In fact, so-called "shelf companies" are registered legal entities that sit on a "shelf" completely inactive. People can actually buy them.

Corporations do not require anything physical in fact in order for their continued existence. They do not require a physical world around them. As long as they have come into existence and until such time as they are struck off the register by an appropriate authority, they will continue to exist.

Here's my proposition: If today the world would end (or even the universe), McDonalds and Coca Cola and other entities would continue to exist simply because they've never had a chance to die. Yes, I do realise that no one will ever be able to test this empirically.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"They continue to exist until they are unincorporated (in other words struck off the register).
"

That's a main problem with your argument. The "Register" is part of this world- the records of this world. If the world ends, so goes its records. The fact of the world ending strikes them all off the register ipso facto.

Also, corporations exist only as a product of the individuals who have signed on. If all those individuals are dead, and have no living heirs, and they had no living heirs, the corporation no longer exists.
Debate Round No. 1
Lightkeeper

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for responding so promptly.

As might be expected, I must say that his response does not counter my opening argument. Reasons follow.

1.My opponent appears to be arguing that destruction by natural causes of the record in question has the immediate and automatic effect of unincorporating the legal entity in question (the company). That simply cannot be correct.

Imagine that a fire destroys the corporate register. Does that mean that the company ceases to exist? Of course not.

By the same token, imagine that a person's certificate of marriage is destroyed in a flood. Is the person still married? Of course they are.

In both above situations the legal status quo continues until such time that it is challenged (usually in Court) and a legally valid finding is made to the contrary.

As posted in my opening argument, companies must be STRUCK OFF the register in order for them to become unincorporated. Striking off does not mean "wiping out". It means that a legally competent and qualified officer (for example a Judge) makes a decision to unincorporate the company and that decision is recorded in the register.

2.A corporation is a legal entity in itself. It does NOT comprise its officers. Officers are merely there to manage the corporation. They are not its PART. Equally, shareholders are the OWNERS of the corporation. They are not PART of the corporation. The corporation legally "lives" as an independent legal person.

My opponent's argument here may have PRACTICAL merit. I must of course concede that for all practical purposes it will never matter whether companies continue to exist as legal persons after the world is destroyed. Indeed, that was never my intention. Any suggestion to the contrary would be nothing short of demented.

However, this debate is not about practicalities. It is about the legal status (the existence or otherwise) of a legal entity. At a risk of repeating myself, I will state that the legal provisions governing the subject matter are quite clear on the question of how a company ceases to exist as a legal person. There must be a decision of a competent body (eg a Court or a Liquidator) that the company should be unincorporated. That decision must be followed by the ACT of striking the company off the register. Unless and until that happens, the company continues to live.

The remaining proposition put by my opponent is that if persons who have "signed" on it die then the corporation dies with them. Furthermore, he argues, if their "heirs" are also dead then the corporation no longer exists. Let us imagine another scenario. I die. I leave no heirs. I have no family. Being the arrogant and pig-headed person that I am, I have no friends. After my death I leave behind a somewhat large house with a swimming pool. No owner, no heirs. My opponent would here be left with no choice but to argue that the said property would then no longer in existence.

"Oh no", I can hear him say, "that is different because the house is a physical thing. It's clearly there. A company is not a physical thing and it's left with no owners". Well, physical or not, each share of a corporation is an Asset. Hence the entire corporation also is an asset. Just like the house. Now I will take it further. Imagine that all the shareholders of a trucking company die tomorrow in a massive plane crash (on their way to the Bahamas for a "conference"). Along with them die the directors. There are no heirs. Does that mean that the trucking company has stopped existing? Of course not. It may be that in a few days some court somewhere will decide that the company should be deregistered. But until that happens, it will continue to exist.

My last remark is as follows: Please let us keep in mind that this IS a purely theoretical and purely legal debate. It is not meant to serve any practical purpose. That was my intention at the outset and that should be patently clear.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
1.My opponent appears to be arguing that destruction by natural causes of the record in question has the immediate and automatic effect of unincorporating the legal entity in question (the company). That simply cannot be correct.

Imagine that a fire destroys the corporate register. Does that mean that the company ceases to exist? Of course not.
"
It does if in so doing it destroys every other referent of the concept "corporation", from the assets to the government that protected it ( there is no such thing as a legal system if there is no government).

"
By the same token, imagine that a person's certificate of marriage is destroyed in a flood. Is the person still married? Of course they are."
Not if they aren't still a person.

"
As posted in my opening argument, companies must be STRUCK OFF the register in order for them to become unincorporated. Striking off does not mean "wiping out". It means that a legally competent and qualified officer (for example a Judge) makes a decision to unincorporate the company and that decision is recorded in the register.
"
Reality is the ultimate competent authority, above any law. Reality just destroyed all referents of the concept "Corporation."

"
2.A corporation is a legal entity in itself. It does NOT comprise its officers. Officers are merely there to manage the corporation. They are not its PART. Equally, shareholders are the OWNERS of the corporation. They are not PART of the corporation. The corporation legally "lives" as an independent legal person.
"
This is what we know as a "Legal fiction." It's a deliberate falsehood, carried on for convenience of streamlining legal arguments. Ultimately, though, a corporation CANNOT be an entity in itself, cannot exist in it's own right- to exist presumes that it exists as something. What? The contract between the shareholders and the officers- which cannot exist unless shareholders and officers also exist. Any abstraction that cannot be concretized, cannot be said to exist.

"It is about the legal status (the existence or otherwise) of a legal entity."
So, would you hold that 90% of black men in America are still, by law, enslaved? After all, no competent officer of Confederate Law set them free. The trouble is, the Confederacy no longer exists. And in your scenario, no law exists. The law without enforcement- without a government- is no longer law- it is NOTHING, in the most absolute sense- not a thing. A law that does not exist cannot alter anything else.

"I leave no heirs. I have no family. Being the arrogant and pig-headed person that I am, I have no friends. After my death I leave behind a somewhat large house with a swimming pool. No owner, no heirs. My opponent would here be left with no choice but to argue that the said property would then no longer in existence."

As "Property" it is indeed no longer in existence. As "House" it is.

"Well, physical or not, each share of a corporation is an Asset"

Not quite. It is a CLAIM upon an asset. Assets have to exist in their own right, i.e., an asset has a concrete existence.

"Imagine that all the shareholders of a trucking company die tomorrow in a massive plane crash (on their way to the Bahamas for a "conference"). Along with them die the directors. There are no heirs. Does that mean that the trucking company has stopped existing?"
Trucking company. A group of people who signed a contract to work together under certain terms to transport goods. Where is the group of people? Where is the transportation of goods? All else is legal fiction.

This debate, though I agree it is not related to practicality, is not whether the law SAYS they will exist, only whether they will actually exist.
Debate Round No. 2
Lightkeeper

Pro

I will start by saying that this is a very good challenge to a very difficult concept.

I will now address your rebuttal piece by piece, much in the same fashion as you have addressed mine.

"It does if in so doing it destroys every other referent of the concept "corporation", from the assets to the government that protected it (there is no such thing as a legal system if there is no government)."

The first point (assets): Assets are NOT a referent of the concept "company". A company can go through its entire life without holding a single asset. The only thing a company requires to come into life is incorporation. Once that has taken place, the company is in existence. Of course, to be incorporated it must have a director, a secretary and a shareholder. That is conceded. However, it does not need to have them to continue its existence.
As for the second point (no government to protect it, no legal system)….
Now this goes to a totally separate issue, one that could be argued quite separately and in a separate debate. The question you are addressing is whether law is made or found. That debate is ages old and has been repeatedly argued by the greatest minds in jurisprudence.
What about war-crimes trials? Trials for crimes that were often committed by persons who were acting under a certain regime, often within the very legal structure of that regime. Obeying orders that were issued by their superiors in a territory where there was no government to prohibit such actions or to enforce any laws (eg occupied Poland in WW2). Subsequent actions for those crimes relied on the contention that the crimes were still crimes even if there was no legal system to enforce them or, indeed, to define them as crimes. What follows is that the mere fact that there is no government protection or enforceability does not relinquish the existence of law.

"Not if they aren't still a person."
With all due respect, this is circular. Your aim as Con is to disprove my contention that the company STILL IS A PERSON. You can not use a self serving statement like the one above in order to substantiate itself.

"Reality is the ultimate competent authority, above any law. Reality just destroyed all referents of the concept "Corporation." "

Again, I refer you to my argument above. The only referent of a company is its incorporation. A company is a separate entity, capable of existing without a director, shareholder, assets or (arguably) government protection.

"This is what we know as a "Legal fiction." It's a deliberate falsehood, carried on for convenience of streamlining legal arguments. Ultimately, though, a corporation CANNOT be an entity in itself, cannot exist in it's own right- to exist presumes that it exists as something. What? The contract between the shareholders and the officers- which cannot exist unless shareholders and officers also exist. Any abstraction that cannot be concretized, cannot be said to exist."

If you do not accept the (INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED) legal principle that a company is a completely separate legal entity then you are not addressing the argument at hand. Whether you agree with it or not, that is the legal position. A company is a legal entity, recognized to be as much a person as you or I.

"So, would you hold that 90% of black men in America are still, by law, enslaved? After all, no competent officer of Confederate Law set them free. The trouble is, the Confederacy no longer exists. And in your scenario, no law exists. The law without enforcement- without a government- is no longer law- it is NOTHING, in the most absolute sense- not a thing. A law that does not exist cannot alter anything else."

I now refer you to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. I post it here for your convenience.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Once again, the above statement is circular. Your very aim in this debate is to prove that the law no longer exists and therefore neither do the corporations. You cannot use the assertion "a law that does not exist…." as evidence to prove that very assertion.

"As "Property" it is indeed no longer in existence. As "House" it is."
Very well, another example then. I invent a time machine. I never write down the plans, the design is never documented. I die with that knowledge. The machine I invented would have worked if it had been in fact built. After my death, there is nobody to ever carry on the concept that I have invented. Does that mean the concept does not exist? True, there is no evidence of it. The fact is, however, the concept has come into existence. I have created it. I submit that that fact will forever remain true. An ant that has existed in some remote forest in the Amazon HAS existed irrespective of whether or not it was ever seen by a human being. The fact that there is no one to take ownership of something, that there is no one to attest to the existence of something, that the creator of something has died, does not and never will relinquish the fact of the existence of the object (or concept) in question.

"Not quite. It is a CLAIM upon an asset. Assets have to exist in their own right, i.e., an asset has a concrete existence."
I understand that you have never heard of Intangible Assets, eg shares, accounts receivable, goodwill, intellectual property and a broad range of things universally (oh that word again) recognized by accountants and lawyers.

"Trucking company. A group of people who signed a contract to work together under certain terms to transport goods. Where is the group of people? Where is the transportation of goods? All else is legal fiction."

A company is NEVER a group of people. It just is not. A company can hire a group of people but they are never its constituents. A company is a separate legal entity, whether you like that or not. It's in the very definition of a company in every book across the globe.

"This debate, though I agree it is not related to practicality, is not whether the law SAYS they will exist, only whether they will actually exist."

Very good. Now here's the bottom line: If the law SAYS a legal entity will exist then the legal entity will exist. That is because it is the law and ONLY the law that can define the existence of a legal entity.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"The only thing a company requires to come into life is incorporation."

Translation- the only thing required to become a company- is to become a company. This is begging the question :D.

"Of course, to be incorporated it must have a director, a secretary and a shareholder. That is conceded. However, it does not need to have them to continue its existence."

How so, if those are necessary referents to the concept?

"As for the second point (no government to protect it, no legal system)….
Now this goes to a totally separate issue,"

No, it goes to a more fundamental issue, upon which the issue at hand is dependent. Not a separate issue.

"
What about war-crimes trials? Trials for crimes that were often committed by persons who were acting under a certain regime, often within the very legal structure of that regime. Obeying orders that were issued by their superiors in a territory where there was no government to prohibit such actions or to enforce any laws (eg occupied Poland in WW2). Subsequent actions for those crimes relied on the contention that the crimes were still crimes even if there was no legal system to enforce them or, indeed, to define them as crimes. What follows is that the mere fact that there is no government protection or enforceability does not relinquish the existence of law."
What this ignores- is the fact that "War crimes trials" taking place proves that there is a government with the power to eventually enforce the law.

"
With all due respect, this is circular. Your aim as Con is to disprove my contention that the company STILL IS A PERSON. You can not use a self serving statement like the one above in order to substantiate itself."

A person has a life. Life has requirements. One of those requirements is somewhere to live.

And the company was never a "Person," again, that's a legal fiction.

"The only referent of a company is its incorporation."
The referent of a company is the start of a company? This makes no sense.

"
If you do not accept the (INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED) legal principle that a company is a completely separate legal entity then you are not addressing the argument at hand. Whether you agree with it or not, that is the legal position."
This debate is not about what the legal position is. This debate is about what actually exists or would exist.

"
I now refer you to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. I post it here for your convenience.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

That is an amendment to United States Law. Not to Confederate law.

"Very well, another example then. I invent a time machine. I never write down the plans, the design is never documented. I die with that knowledge. The machine I invented would have worked if it had been in fact built. After my death, there is nobody to ever carry on the concept that I have invented. Does that mean the concept does not exist?"
Yes. The concept has been eradicated. No brain exists which contains the concept in question.

"An ant that has existed in some remote forest in the Amazon HAS existed irrespective of whether or not it was ever seen by a human being"
That which has existed =/= that which does exist.

I understand that you have never heard of Intangible Assets, eg shares, accounts receivable, goodwill, intellectual property and a broad range of things universally (oh that word again) recognized by accountants and lawyers."
You're understanding is false. I have indeed heard of these things- but their existence is not as a primary. It is derived. It can only exist when something tangible (in the case of intellectual property, for example, a brain which made it possible) exists as it's referent.

And these continued statements about "Universally recognized" (by a specific class, obviously not completely universally) have a term. It's known as ad authoritatem.
"
A company is NEVER a group of people. It just is not."
Then what is it?

"A company is a separate legal entity, whether you like that or not."
An entity with what characteristics? Found where?
There is no such thing as a "Legal entity." Something has to exist IN REALITY to qualify as an entity- not just in the law's imagination.

"It's in the very definition of a company in every book across the globe."
http://www.answers.com...

These are taken out of dictionaries, which are books.

And you cannot define a thing simply by telling me what it is NOT, what it is SEPARATE FROM.. you also have to tell me what it IS.

"
Very good. Now here's the bottom line: If the law SAYS a legal entity will exist then the legal entity will exist. That is because it is the law and ONLY the law that can define the existence of a legal entity.
"
Human laws command human action. They do not command reality as such. They cannot make an entity out of nothing. An entity has to exist as a particular and discrete unit in reality, not just a bundle of words in a legislator's whim.
Debate Round No. 3
Lightkeeper

Pro

*Translation- the only thing required to become a company- is to become a company. This is begging the question :D.

Not really. The act of incorporation is a specific legal term that refers to the creation of a corporation. It just happens that the word "incorporation" sounds very much like the word "corporation". Once incorporated (ie registered as a corporation), the corporation comes into existence.

*How so, if those are necessary referents to the concept?

They are necessary for the creation of a corporation. Just like you need a mother to be born. After your birth, your mother could die. This will, however, not mean that you are dead.

*What this ignores- is the fact that "War crimes trials" taking place proves that there is a government with the power to eventually enforce the law.

No, it's there to illustrate that law can exist even where there is no legal structure, no government, where previous law has been replaced by a new regime. War-crimes were found as law subsequent to their commission. However, they did exist during their commission. This is part of that "natural justice" concept, the jurisprudential idea that laws can exist without a government.

*A person has a life. Life has requirements. One of those requirements is somewhere to live.

Hence a homeless person is a dead person? I would argue that some actually do survive the experience.

*And the company was never a "Person," again, that's a legal fiction.

The debate is about legal entities. That's stated in the very first sentence of my very first post. Please feel free to re-read it.

"A legal person, also called juridical person or juristic person,[1] is a legal entity…. "(wikipedia)

"Since the 1800s, legal personhood has been further construed to make it a citizen, resident, or domiciliary of a state (usually for purposes of personal jurisdiction). In Louisville, C. & C.R. Co. v. Letson, 2 How. 497, 558, 11 L.Ed. 353 (1844), the U.S. Supreme Court held that for the purposes of the case at hand, a corporation is "capable of being treated as a citizen of [the State which created it], as much as a natural person."(also wikipedia)

"There are limitations to the legal recognition of legal persons. Legal entities cannot marry, they usually cannot vote or hold public office,[8] and in most jurisdictions there are certain positions which they cannot occupy.[9] The extent to which a legal entity can commit a crime varies from country to country." (once again wikipedia)

*The referent of a company is the start of a company? This makes no sense.

"Incorporation" is not a start. Well, it is. But more importantly incorporation is THE ACT of establishing a company. It is performed in accordance with laws and processes. In any event, I am NOT going to argue semantics. This is not about semantics. You understood the meaning of the initial claim and you still do. You have been trying to muddle up the waters by pretending that you are confusing a bunch of truckies with the corporation they work for. I take it it's for the benefit of any viewers of this debate because I certainly do not believe it is for yours.

*This debate is not about what the legal position is. This debate is about what actually exists or would exist.

Incorrect. Read the first post again. "A legal person will continue to exist"… I refuse to believe that you were under the impression that this was about a physical existence. It could not be as legal entities do not have a physical existence. That is what makes this a legal debate. You cannot ever show me a physical corporation. There aren't any. You can show me a McDonald's store. But that is not the corporation. It's merely one of the assets it owns/leases.

*That is an amendment to United States Law. Not to Confederate law.

Correct. My understanding is (correct me if I'm wrong) that the South never had any legal power under the Constitution to declare secession. Hence, any "confederate law" was never good law and never needed to be revoked in the first place.

*That which has existed =/= that which does exist.

Again you are resorting to arguing semantics. And again I will indulge you by rephrasing: a tree in the amazon can and does in fact exist even if no human has ever laid his/her eyes on it. Yes, I know you might want to try and disagree.

"A company is NEVER a group of people. It just is not."
*Then what is it?

DEFINITION:
"A corporation is a legal entity created through the laws of its state of incorporation, treating a corporation as a legal "person" that has standing to sue and be sued, distinct from its stockholders. (…) Until formally dissolved, a corporation has perpetual life;" http://definitions.uslegal.com...

(NOTE IN PARTICULAR THE LAST SENTENCE OF THE ABOVE DEFINITION AS I ASSERT THAT IT DIRECTLY SUPPORTS THE VERY GIST OF MY ARGUMENT)

DEFINITION:
"A legal structure authorized by state law that allows a business to organize as a separate legal entity from its owners. A nonprofit is often referred to as an "artificial legal person," meaning that, like an individual, it can enter into contracts, sue and be sued and do the many other things necessary to carry on a business. "http://www.nolo.com...

Clarification:
In the United States, a company is "a corporation—or, less commonly, on association, partnership, or union—that carries on a industrial enterprise."[
http://en.wikipedia.org...
(NOW, this is where the problem lies with my use of the word "company" interchangeably with "corporation". The USA definition differs from that in Australia and is somewhat broader. Fortunately for me, I have made it abundantly clear from the very start that I am talking about corporations – the more common meaning of the term "company" even by US standards).

*There is no such thing as a "Legal entity." Something has to exist IN REALITY to qualify as an entity- not just in the law's imagination.

You disagree with the very existence of the concept "legal entity"? I understand that this is the very crunch of the argument.

Main Entry: legal entity
Function: noun
: an entity (as a corporation or labor union) having under the law rights and responsibilities and esp. the capacity to sue and be sued (dictionary.com)

*And you cannot define a thing simply by telling me what it is NOT, what it is SEPARATE FROM.. you also have to tell me what it IS.

I must say that I am somewhat surprised that we have come this far before you actually admitted that you do not understand the meaning of the VERY FIRST WORD in the subject matter of the debate :)

*Human laws command human action. They do not command reality as such. They cannot make an entity out of nothing. An entity has to exist as a particular and discrete unit in reality, not just a bundle of words in a legislator's whim.

Human laws cannot create a physical entity. But they certainly can create a legal entity 

Once again you are attempting to widen the scope of the very subject of this debate. I again refer you to the very first sentence, as well to the entire body of the initial argument. In short form:
1. A legal entity (corporation) is created
2. A corporation continues to exist as a legal entity until it is formally unincorporated ("officially resolved", struck off the register, call it what you will but it has to be done by an official act of a person with the power to do it). Feel free to do some research as to how a dissolution is done, as it does vary between jurisdictions. Failing that, please feel free to ask and I will give you a brief run-down of the steps involved in most jurisdictions.
3. In the event of the end of the world (or even the universe), step 2 never takes place
4. Therefore some corporations will continue to exist
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
Not really. The act of incorporation is a specific legal term that refers to the creation of a corporation."

Exactly my point. Translated again: The only thing required to create a corporation- is to create a corporation.
See the problem?

"

They are necessary for the creation of a corporation. Just like you need a mother to be born. After your birth, your mother could die. This will, however, not mean that you are dead."

I have an existence separate from my mother's. A provable, concrete existence. Demonstrated by the fact that I am typing to you.

"

No, it's there to illustrate that law can exist even where there is no legal structure, no government, where previous law has been replaced by a new regime. War-crimes were found as law subsequent to their commission. However, they did exist during their commission. This is part of that "natural justice" concept, the jurisprudential idea that laws can exist without a government."
What this amounts to is an ex post facto law, if what you claim is true abou ttheir being "Found" after commission (which is probably not true, because the country that eventually invaded declared these a crime beforehand, it just took some time to enforce the matter). And no, laws do not exist in nature (not laws of that sort). Laws of physics do, but those are a different story. The jurisprudential idea you refer to is unprovable.

"
Hence a homeless person is a dead person? I would argue that some actually do survive the experience.
"
They live under a bridge- or in a park- or in a car- etc. They always live SOMEWHERE, it's just not very high quality and they frequently change it.

"
The debate is about legal entities."
Legal entities, as such, are fictional. They cannot exist as such.

"You have been trying to muddle up the waters by pretending that you are confusing a bunch of truckies with the corporation they work for."
No, I am stating that there is no other referent of a corporation than it's workers, shareholders, officers, and physical assets. I am not pretending to confuse them, I am stating that they are fundamentally one and the same, and the alternative view leads us to the conclusion that a "corporation" does not exist- the law simply pretends it does.

"
Incorrect. Read the first post again. "A legal person will continue to exist"… I refuse to believe that you were under the impression that this was about a physical existence."
There is no variety of existence that is not physical or derived from the physical.

"It could not be as legal entities do not have a physical existence. That is what makes this a legal debate. You cannot ever show me a physical corporation. There aren't any. You can show me a McDonald's store. But that is not the corporation. It's merely one of the assets it owns/leases."
It is a referent- a concrete from which, with other concretes, the concept "Corporation" is formed.

"
Correct. My understanding is (correct me if I'm wrong) that the South never had any legal power under the Constitution to declare secession. Hence, any "confederate law" was never good law and never needed to be revoked in the first place.
"
The Constitution never had any legal power under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation never had any legal power under the Magna Carta to declare secession. Etc.

"
Again you are resorting to arguing semantics. "

No, actually, I'm arguing metaphysics- not just that x word does not mean y, but x word cannot mean y because y has no rational meaning. There is a difference :D.

"And again I will indulge you by rephrasing: a tree in the amazon can and does in fact exist even if no human has ever laid his/her eyes on it."

That is not a valid comparison. A corporation is not a tree in the amazon, it is a concept rather than a concrete, and thus it's existence is dependent on concretes (and in this case it does matter whether humans have seen them, because humans working together is part of it, and humans lay their eyes on it in the course of indulging). Furthermore, if the planet is destroyed, the tree indeed no longer exists.

"
"A corporation is a legal entity created through the laws of its state of incorporation, treating a corporation as a legal "person" that has standing to sue and be sued, distinct from its stockholders. (…) Until formally dissolved, a corporation has perpetual life;" http://definitions.uslegal.com......

(NOTE IN PARTICULAR THE LAST SENTENCE OF THE ABOVE DEFINITION AS I ASSERT THAT IT DIRECTLY SUPPORTS THE VERY GIST OF MY ARGUMENT)"
The problem there is that definition is not coherent for any purposes other than legal ones. Something has to have a particular, defined existence in objective reality- not just in law- in order to qualify as an entity. This is, again, not semantics- it is metaphysics.

"
You disagree with the very existence of the concept "legal entity"? I understand that this is the very crunch of the argument.

Main Entry: legal entity
Function: noun
: an entity (as a corporation or labor union) having under the law rights and responsibilities and esp. the capacity to sue and be sued (dictionary.com)"
That is, indeed, an invalid concept. Corporations or labor unions cannot be entities as such, except perhaps derived entities- derived from constituent parts. They are incapable of being independently entities.

"I must say that I am somewhat surprised that we have come this far before you actually admitted that you do not understand the meaning of the VERY FIRST WORD in the subject matter of the debate :)"
I understand what it means in a rational legal system. In our own irrational legal system the thing you put forward as "Meaning" is logically incoherent, by definition not understandable :D.

"
Human laws cannot create a physical entity. But they certainly can create a legal entity"

Again, that is not a valid concept. "Legal entities" as you describe them do not and cannot exist, are not and cannot be created. Because they are nonentities, just floating bits of legislative imagination.
Debate Round No. 4
Lightkeeper

Pro

My opponent takes the PRACTICAL view of the issue.
I can't argue that there is such a physical thing as "corporation". There isn't, never has been, never will be.
A legal entity, however, exists, whether or not my learned opponent believes in it or not. He may be an anarchist or believe that law is irrational. I can't take issue with his believes there. That doesn't change the fact that these entities are recognised, are documented in literature, including dictionaries, both legal and otherwise.
Once again, I never once intended to argue that they are physical entities. The entities are legal entities, created by law which in itself is not a physical thing.
Aside all the arguments about trees and ants and the meaning of "meaning", the position is this:

A legal entity is created and exists until it is OFFICALLY dissolved.

The one argument put by my opponent that apparently has legs is that in the event of the end of the world (or universe), law would cease to exist and hence any instruments created by it. That's because law cannot exist if it can't be enforced. However, plenty of laws exist currently that are not enforceable! And yet, they are good law until revoked/repealed/quashed. Speeding at 150m/h on a deserted highway with no one to see me, I still commit an offence. The law is present even though there is no policeman (or anyone) to enforce it. Non-enforceability cannot be enough to say there's no law. Equally, non-applicability cannot. The fact that a law is useless or unneeded doesn't negate its existence. A law exists until it is revoked.
If a new regime comes into place, takes over the old and creates new laws, those laws may in fact prevail. But that's a different question altogether. The point here is that non-enforceable, unneeded, immoral and wrong laws are still laws. None of those things negate their existence.
Laws do not require space to "live in". Unlike people in the "homeless" section of this argument.

Laws exist until repealed. Whether they're needed or not.
Corporations exist until OFFICIALLY dissolved. Whether they're needed or not.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"My opponent takes the PRACTICAL view of the issue."
No, I don't. There is no "practical" view of the issue of what happens when the world ends. What is practical depends upon what it is you seek to practice. When the world ends, there is nothing left to practice. Since this is obvious, I can only conclude you aren't paying close attention when you say I take a "Practical" view, or you are being disingenous.

"A legal entity, however, exists, whether or not my learned opponent believes in it or not."
Then prove it.

"He may be an anarchist "
Nope.

"or believe that law is irrational."
Yep, though that has little bearing here. What has bearing here is not whether the law is irrational but whether it is a mystical entity which can make things suddenly exist through nothing more than a word. I hold that it is not.

"I can't take issue with his believes there. That doesn't change the fact that these entities are recognised, are documented in literature, including dictionaries, both legal and otherwise."
Neither dictionaries nor other legal literature make things exist simply by writing about them. The law has, at various times in various locales, recognized such entities as "Yahweh," "Zeus," "Ancestor spirits," etc. This does not mean those all exist.

"And yet, they are good law until revoked/repealed/quashed. Speeding at 150m/h on a deserted highway with no one to see me, I still commit an offence."
Yet this "Law" is often broken in places where it IS enforceable. It is those instances which are the referents of it's existence- the instances where you are arrested for speeding at 150 m/h on a non-deserted highway.

Whereas when the world ends, there are no such instances. :D

"A law exists until it is revoked."
If it exists in the first place, yes- until revoked by reality- which may or may not come in the form of a human legislature revoking it.

Note, that you never addressed the point about the Magna Carta vs. the Constitution. Are you conceding that by your definitions the Constitution (which is the source of current US law, in which corporate rules are written) is illegitimate? And therefore conceding that the Magna Carta too was illegitimate since it was derived from a monarch's law, which was established in direct defiance of the law of Imperial Rome? And that, if I remember right, was established contradictory to the previous laws of the previous rulers of the Italian Peninsula? You'd have to go a LONG way back to find a law that's legitimate on your arguments, and I guarantee it has no reference to "Corporations."
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
The issue is not so much about concepts. My argument was that corporations are not concepts, they are entities. It's along the same line as asking "if the physical universe ceases to exist, does the fact that it once existed cease to exist with it? if so, the universe has never existed in the first place". Hence, "if the universe ceases to exist, does the fact that a corporation was created cease to exist?" If so, then there was never a corporation (and thus Con would win).
My problem as Pro is that it was very difficult to stress the point that I am not arguing on a practical basis or a physical basis :)
Posted by Morty 9 years ago
Morty
It is my opinion that Con's most devastating point was glossed over, the idea that concepts require minds which have those concepts. Votes thus go to Con.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
Mangani,

Sorry for the incomplete answer. I was in a hurry when replying to the comment. When a corporation is registered, the registration does not need to be renewed. The corporation exists until it is dissolved (liquidated). You see, that's the whole idea behind the argument. That's why I said quite clearly during the debate that corporations exist until they are officially dissolved. Dissolution requires a positive act by the appropriate authority. That part of my argument is not even contested by Con, as far as I understand. In the end, the entire debate boils down to one very fine issue. In reality one either "sees it" or "doesn't see it". I can certainly see both sides of the equation. I will elaborate on it after voting is trough. I also have a surprise for those who care to read about it :D
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
Mangani

That's not correc though. You see, a corporation that is insolvent does not "die" until it is in fact liquidated (liquidation is a form of OFFICIAL dissolution of a corporation). Insolvency is a cause for a creditor's petition to have the corporation wound up. But it's NOT AN AUTOMATIC PROCESS.

Thanks for the comment :)
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
I voted for neither. Neither mentioned insolvency, which is when a corporation dies- it cannot pay off it's debts. If pro argues that corporations continue to exist after the death of the officers, then so do their debts. Because the corporation has no employees, no administrators, no members- it automatically legally falls into insolvency if it can be argued that laws apply when there is noone to enforce them.

Noone mentioned the requirement of a corporation to have a living registered agent. If all the officers are dead, and so is the registered agent, the corporation is no longer a corporation and therefore does not exist. Corporations are registered with the State and administered by it's laws. If the citizens are dead, the State does not exist, neither do it's laws, and neither does the corporation. Registrations must also be periodically renewed. This was not addressed. Who will renew the registration once it expires???
Posted by JBlake 9 years ago
JBlake
This was quite the exciting debate. Both sides performed admirably and presented interesting perspectives. My vote splits, with the very slight advantage going to Pro.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
It is quite obvious that i initially intended to use the definition of "universe" to be limited to physical universe. Otherwise there would be no debate indeed! And as it turns out, that definition was not inconsistent with dictionary definitions.
I am NOT having a debate with you. I want to see who can win the debate between me and Con based on the arguments presented WITHIN the debate and not on people's opinions outside of that debate. Feel free to msg me in priv to discuss the issues.
Thank you :)
Posted by Puck 9 years ago
Puck
"To illustrate the point, ask yourself this question: If the universe ceases to exist, does the fact that it ever existed also cease to exist."

Contradicting yourself again. You admit this time non existence - ideas and structures are held in entities of existence, if there is no basis for its existence it cannot exist.

Additionally with the universes' end. Its status is independant of its prior existence. It *did* exist. Past tense. Facts are not ideas in one's head or constructs of one's mind. The are independant of such things. Indpendant of any observer of those facts.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
I would usually not argue in the Comments section while the debate is afoot. Therefore, this will be my ONLY response in this section until the debate is completed.

"The Universe is defined as everything that PHYSICALLY exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the PHYSICAL laws and constants that govern them. " (Emphasis added) --- wiki

The existence argued in the debate is not physical existence. We're talking about the existence of a legal person (a company).

Dictionary.com: 1. the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm.

Again, I would argue that a legal concept or legal entity is not an object or phenomenon. The term "universe" applies to the physical world.

To illustrate the point, ask yourself this question: If the universe ceases to exist, does the fact that it ever existed also cease to exist.

If so, that would mean that once the universe ceases to exist, it never existed.

If not, that would mean that non-physical concepts can remain in existence even after the universe ceases to exist. This of course carries an assumption that non-physical concepts do not require space for their existence.

The bottom line is that it's easy to say "contradiction" without giving the matter much thought.

I will now limit my comments to the debate with Con.
Posted by Puck 9 years ago
Puck
"If today the world would end (or even the universe)"

Contradiction - entities cannot exist in non existence. The universe is the set of ALL things.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by bfitz1307 9 years ago
bfitz1307
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Vote Placed by jdwooch 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Mangani 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Morty 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by JBlake 9 years ago
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