By Jesús R. Velasco | Published on January 19, 2022
Fictio legis, however, is a technique, an art. It’s related to the ways in which disciplines (the Law, in this case) build themselves by articulating artificial models and constructs. Fiction is pervasive in discipline creativity. As an example (that could very well be a chapter in our microliterary research, but isn’t), the medieval discipline of Dialectic or Logic would not exist without fiction. To continue this example, I had fun translating from Latin this text from Jean Buridan’s Summula de Dialectica, or Small Handbook of Dialectics:
You think you are an ass.
Let’s say that there is someone who thinks his father is an ass, and then he thinks he himself is the son of an ass and therefore an ass. Same goes if you think your father is an ass.
Let’s put the case that your father is clad in an ass’s skin, and that you see him from afar, while he is walking on four legs; it’s like that that you think this is an ass, and therefore you can argue using an expositive syllogism: you think that this is an ass, and this is your father, therefore you think that your father is an ass.
Let’s argue the contrary: because you do not only believe, you know for a fact that the contrary is true, which means that you are not an ass.
Here, there are two different layers of fiction, a narrative, and a series of artificial suppositions and keys to build the logical case. The first one may have many interpretations, including, of course, its mnemonic value. The second one, however, is strictly directed to the demonstration of a logical paradox based on the way in which we believe logical statements.
But it is also a game. Buridan was a good, witty, playful scholar, who was by no means alone in his endeavor. It was part of the extreme creativity in the epistemological value of fiction.
So, fictionalize away. This is your game: go ahead and play with scholarly statements using, as your epistemological technique, fiction.