Posted by: captainfalcon | December 3, 2010

In re Soper’s Estate

In re Soper’s Estate, 265 N.W. 427 (Minn. 1935) is an entertaining case. Soper had a wife. Then apparently faked his suicide and moved to another city under an alias, where he prospered and took a new “wife” (who, because bigamy was illegal, was never his wife). Next he made out a will to his ‘wife’ and killed himself for reals. Both wife and “wife” claimed his estate. Judge Olson was of the opinion that by ‘wife’ Soper had not meant wife, but instead “wife.” Judge Olsen(!) dissented, preferring the view that ‘wife’ means wife.

It is worth observing that those who think one of the homophonic judges was right, and the other wrong, in his analysis of the meaning of the homonym are committing the intrinsicist/instrumentalist conflation.


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