The American Dream   /   Summer 2013   /    Book Reviews

Jeffrey P. Bishop’s The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying

William P. Kabasenche

Speaking of Dr. timothy Quill, who is well-known in medical and bioethical circles for assisting a patient named “Diane” to end her life in the early 1990s, Lawrence tribe once said, “he is a good represen- tative of what ought to happen, because death is not his subspe- cialty but an integrated part of his practice. he treats someone as a whole person, not an antic- ipatory corpse” (Bishop 278). Medical doctor and philoso- pher Jeffrey Bishop believes that tribe, and medicine more generally, doth protest too much. Rather, Bishop argues that the corpse is epistemologi- cally normative for contempo- rary medicine, an insight he garners from Foucault. this

causes medicine to do violence to the dying, through techno- logical manipulation of bodily function and the totalizing effects of efficiency-driven biopsychosocial and spiritual care. Bishop’s argument will put o some readers—particularly some doctors—but he does mean for this to be a wound of love. Indeed, his own experi- ences caring for the dying and the incongruity between the impulses that led him to medi- cine and what the eld trained him to do and be are the likely motivations for Bishop’s work here.

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