chapter  12
11 Pages

The biopolitics of anticipatory care

Spinoza and the prohibition of health
ByOwen Dempsey

Following Kordela, this chapter uses Spinoza’s philosophy of being (or ontology) to provide an additional and alternative theoretical resource for understanding subjectivity and the scientific-political-economic basis and warrant for the practice of anticipatory healthcare and its paradox, wherein such care is causing more harm.

In this chapter Spinoza’s idea that consciousness is always insufficient is used to identify the circular nature of Descartes’ argument about seeing things clearly so that the individual can rely upon her sense-impressions and thoughts to know the world as it really is. Lévi-Strauss’s idea of the incest taboo and the paradox of sovereignty as the basis of culture are used to develop a theory of biopolitics for anticipatory care.

In the capitalist era, this chapter shows, an individual’s sense of her self and her role is based upon an imaginary relation to her real existing conditions and relations. The offer of such care incites: fear, and a need for prediction, prevention and cure that demands care consumption. And, this in effect prohibits the individual’s potential for the self-actualisation of her own health.

This chapter suggests that the imposition of anticipatory care exposes the individual to unknown harms to her individual unique biological and psychic potential to autocorrect, and set new norms, in the face of life’s inconstancies.