Guest Editors' Introduction: New Challenges to the Enlightenment: How Twenty-First-Century Sociotechnological Systems Facilitate Organized Immaturity and How to Counteract It

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


Organized immaturity, the reduction of individual capacities for public use of reason constrained by sociotechnological systems, constitutes a significant pushback against the project of Enlightenment. Forms of immaturity have long been a concern for philosophers and social theorists, such as Kant, Arendt, Fromm, Marcuse, and Foucault. Recently, Zuboff's concept of surveillance capitalism describes how advancements in digital technologies lead to new, increasingly sophisticated forms of organized immaturity in democratic societies. We discuss how sociotechnological systems initially designed to meet human needs can inhibit the multidimensional development of individuals as mature citizens. To counteract these trends, we suggest two mechanisms: disorganizing immaturity as a way to safeguard individuals' and collectives' negative freedoms (freedoms from), and organizing maturity as a way to strengthen positive freedoms (freedoms to). Finally, we provide an outlook on the five further articles that constitute the Business Ethics Quarterly Special Issue Sociotechnological Conditions of Organized Immaturity in the Twenty-First Century.

ZeitschriftBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Seiten (von - bis)409-439
Anzahl der Seiten31
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 25.07.2023

Bibliographische Notiz

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Business Ethics.