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Jurisprudence, Temporality and Science Fiction



This article examines how justice is conceived of and constructed through temporality in different traditions of normative jurisprudence. Three non-exhaustive and overlapping temporalities are discussed: counterfactual histories, the near future and science fiction. All of these temporalities are examined in terms of when and how they envisage the delivery of justice. Some traditions, such as liberalism, see the architecture of justice having already been developed and delivered. However, most jurisprudential approaches see justice as something yet to be achieved. The article traces these theoretical traditions’ commitment to the pluralistic, the nonlinear, the impossible, the unlikely and the decentring of the human, and in so doing demonstrates the blurred lines between normative jurisprudence and science fiction. As a result, the article reveals the value of science fiction as a source of normative jurisprudence in its own right. Science fiction offers an important vehicle for enfolding the present and the future; in doing so it allows for the enactment of new forms of justice in the present. In its conclusion it is argued that placing science fiction within the field of normative jurisprudence helps us to imagine and create just futures.

Published: 2022-11-14
Pages:5 to 23
Section: Symposium: Jurisprudence of the Future
How to Cite
Travis, Mitchell. 2022. “Jurisprudence, Temporality and Science Fiction”. Law, Technology and Humans 4 (2):5-23.

Author Biography

University of Leeds
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Mitchell Travis is the Director of the Centre for Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds. He is the co-author of Intersex Embodiment: Legal Frameworks Beyond Identity and Disorder (2022, Bristol University Press), The co-editor of A Jurisprudence of the Body (2020, Palgrave) and has co-edited special issues of Law, Technology and Humans (2022) and Culture, Health and Sexuality (2021). Mitchell has also published widely in such journals as Legal Studies, Law and Society and Social and Legal Studies.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074