From Anticipatory Corpse to Posthuman God

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (6):679-695 (2016)
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Abstract

The essays in this issue of JMP are devoted to critical engagement of my book, The Anticipatory Corpse. The essays, for the most part, accept the main thrust of my critique of medicine. The main thrust of the criticism is whether the scope of the critique is too totalizing, and whether the proposed remedy is sufficient. I greatly appreciate these interventions because they allow me this occasion to respond and clarify, and to even further extend the argument of my book. In this response essay, I maintain that the regnant social imaginary of medicine is the regnant social imaginary of our time. It is grounded in a specific ontotheology: where ontology is a power ontology; where material is malleable to the open-ended organization of power and dependent only on working out the efficient mechanisms of its enactment; where ethically it is oriented only to the immanent telos of utility maximization in the short run, and ultimately to some posthuman future in the long run. This ontotheology originates in the anticipatory corpse and is ordered toward some god-like posthuman being. The entire ontotheology finds enactment through the political economy of neoliberalism. This social imaginary constantly works to insulate itself from other social imaginaries through the use of its institutional power, through marginalization, circumscription, or absorption. The modern social imaginary of neoliberal societies marginalizes and politically isolates other social imaginaries, or transforms them into something acceptable to the neoliberal imaginary. Yet, these other social imaginaries could influence the larger social imaginary in novel ways, sometimes through withdrawal and sometimes through challenges. These other practices—again, usually practices ordered according to different ontological and teleological purposes—might serve as a source of renewal and transformation, but only if the practitioners of these other social imaginaries understand the ontotheological powers that they are up against.

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Jeffrey Bishop
Saint Louis University

References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
The phenomenon of life: toward a philosophical biology.Hans Jonas - 1966 - Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Samuel Scheffler - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (3):443.
Modern social imaginaries.Charles Taylor - 2004 - Durham: Duke University Press.

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