Matthias Gross


This paper introduces some of Georg Simmel's neglected reflections on modern science and technology and their implications for the understanding of the development of technology in modern societies in general. Using Simmel's perspective on the production of side effects via accumulating non-knowledge as a touchstone, this paper suggests how unexpected occurrences can be incorporated into a model of scientific and technological development that includes the re-cursive handling of "surprises." Simmel, therefore, outlines his understanding of progress as an innovative crisis, where unexpected occurrences—both positive and negative—are positioned at the core of modern science and technology and are not understood as mere side efiects.