New Challenges to Enlightenment: Why Socio-Technological Conditions Lead to Organized Immaturity and What to Do About it

32 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2021

See all articles by Andreas Georg Scherer

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Cristina Neesham

Newcastle University Business School

Date Written: December 22, 2020

Abstract

Organized immaturity can be defined as the erosion of the individual’s capacity for public use of reason, due to surveillance and control mechanisms of socio-technological systems, ideologies, or autocratic leaders and regimes. Such pushbacks on the Enlightenment have been a concern for philosophers and social theorists. Today, technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (such as social media, Internet of Things, smart cities) are inducing new and even more sophisticated forms of organized immaturity. Left to their own devices, systems initially designed to meet human needs tend to slide from service to paternalism, with undesirable reduc-tionist, totalizing and infantilizing effects. To counteract the effects of organized immaturity on individuals and society, we suggest two social mechanisms. Firstly, disorganizing (or anti-organizing) organized immaturity seeks to protect or increase negative freedom (‘freedom from’) of individuals. Secondly, organizing individual and collective maturity emphasizes the strengthening of positive freedom (‘freedom to’) of individuals as well as social groups and col-lectives.

Keywords: organized immaturity, technology, control, surveillance, freedom, enlightenment

Suggested Citation

Scherer, Andreas Georg and Neesham, Cristina, New Challenges to Enlightenment: Why Socio-Technological Conditions Lead to Organized Immaturity and What to Do About it (December 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753612 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3753612

Andreas Georg Scherer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

Cristina Neesham

Newcastle University Business School ( email )

5 Barrack Road
Devonshire Building
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NE1 7RU
United Kingdom

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