The Categorical Imperative of Speed: Acceleration as Moral Duty

Sutherland, Thomas (2020) The Categorical Imperative of Speed: Acceleration as Moral Duty. In: Mediated Time: Perspectives on Time in a Digital Age. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 25-43. ISBN 978-3-030-24949-6

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The Categorical Imperative of Speed: Acceleration as Moral Duty
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The Kantian model of ethics is premised upon the apodictic certainty of a law of pure practical reason which is in turn the foundation for an absolute transcendental freedom. This law, the categorical imperative, is the objective and universally valid determining ground of the will, and is irreducible to any empirically determined judgement of desire. Such a model, whereby we locate this moral law within ourselves (through a pure usage of the faculty of reason) even as it points us toward the infinite horizon of the unconditioned, imagines the rational human being to be ultimately autonomous in relation to any empirical determination. In this chapter, I wish to argue that such a conception of morality has become more and more implausible in an age of ubiquitous technical mediation; instead, we find ourselves in thrall to a moral law that is imposed upon us by an economic and socio-technical apparatus unconcerned with the finite temporalities of human thought and action: namely, a categorical imperative of speed, which incessantly pushes us toward an interminable acceleration of our labour and our everyday practices, treating the elimination of temporal lag as a moral duty. This imperative positions humans not as ends in themselves, but as the means for pursuing a teleology premised upon an abstract and unsustainable calculation of efficiency.

Keywords:philosophy, media, speed, acceleration, time, productivity, efficiency, political economy, ethics, Immanuel Kant, Max Weber
Subjects:L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:37262
Deposited On:27 Sep 2019 10:07

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