This summary was provided by Rock Ethics Graduate Student Fellow David Agler
On November 28th, the Rock Fellows Seminar took part in a workshop for Christopher Mayes, a postdoctoral scholar in the Rock's Bioethics Initiative. Mayes's paper "Measuring Up the Future Subject: Obesity and the Political Rationality of 'Pre,' offers an analysis of discourse in Australia used to target 'pre-obese' subjects in an effort to promote future health and economic security.
Mayes began the workshop with a brief overview of his paper. Mayes claimed that the theoretical framework of "pre" is general notion used to capture preemptive, precautionary, and preventive principles that aim at predicting and pre-empting threats prior to their actualization. A key theme of his paper (drawing from Diprose, Francois Ewald, and others) is the shift from a perception of risk that is naturally occurring and calculable to one that is incalculable and the result of human agency, particularly with respect to how the latter can lead to catastrophe.