Jeffrey Bishop’s The Anticipatory Corpse demonstrates how death is present in and cloaked by contemporary practices of end-of-life care. A key to Bishop’s argument is that for modern medicine the cadaver has become epistemologically normative and that a metaphysics shorn of formal and final causes now shapes contemporary healthcare practices. The essays of this symposium laud and interrogate Bishop’s argument in three ways. First, they raise critical methodological challenges from the perspectives of human rights, Charles Taylor’s concept of social imaginaries, (...) and economics. Second, they demonstrate the analytical power of his argument by detailing how it might be extended to additional issues beyond simply end-of-life care and how it might be brought into conversation with sociology. Third, they engage the constructive turn Bishop takes at the end of the book. Bishop himself also updates readers on the reception of The Anticipatory Corpse, as well as the way his thinking has evolved over the past 5 years since its publication. He also engages the questions, challenges, and openings provided by our authors. (shrink)
This article identifies three geographical shifts that have altered the relative social, spatial and temporal locations of dying, church and health care, and axiology causally contributing to our culture’s deformed dying processes. It proposes an alternative script for a new art of dying drawing upon the early church’s practice of the order of widows.