The paper treats several ontological questions about certain nineteenth-century and contemporary medical and scientific conceptualizations of hereditary relation. In particular, it considers the account of mid-nineteenth century psychiatric thought given by Foucault in Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1973-1974 and Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1974-1975. There, Foucault argues that a fantastical conceptual prop, the 'metabody,' as he terms it, was implicitly supposed by that period's psychiatric medicine as a putative ground for psychiatric pathology. After presenting the heart of Foucault's thought on the 'metabody,' the paper investigates the possibility that a contemporary version of a 'metabody' may operate today as a conceptual analog of the nineteenth-century psychiatric theory and practice that Foucault began to expose in the texts examined here. It speculates that we might identify a contemporary genetic version of a 'metabody' in a particular current conception of the gene as replicator, an item marked by an ambiguous temporal ontology. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry
Mader, M. (2010). Foucault's 'metabody'. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 7 (2), 187-203. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-010-9237-3