Obedience Is, As Stanley Milgram Writes, “As Basic An Element

1219 WordsApr 2, 20175 Pages
Obedience is, as Stanley Milgram writes, “as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to” (Milgram 1). The act of obedience holds positive connotations, but the sometimes negative effects of blind obedience are explored in Stanley Milgram’s “The Perils of Obedience” and Diana Baumrind’s “Review of Stanley Milgram’s Experiments on Obedience.” Though Milgram does analyze how the subjects of the experiment blame their actions on the experimenters, Baumrind argues the bad effects of Milgram’s experiment on a subject’s mental state. Stanley Milgram, a Yale psychologist, wanted to further understand how far a person would be willing to go in harming another person by the orders of an authoritative figure. Milgram…show more content…
The learner, which is an actor, is put in another room and believed to be getting these shocks because of an audio, provided by the lab, of the learner releasing sounds of pain and loud complaining. Milgram states that “At 285 volts, his response can be described only as an agonized scream” (Milgram 10). Because the subjects are “inflicting increasing pain on a protesting victim” (Milgram 9) by the order of an experimenter, the subjects believe that they will not and do not have to assume any responsibility if anything happens to the learner who is “receiving” shocks. Milgram finds it astonishing that the subjects will continue to willing cause pain for someone if they are ordered to do so. One of the subjects of Milgram’s experiment, Fred Prozi, becomes the prime example for this lack of responsibility. When the learner begins to holler in pain from the shocks, Prozi does not want to go on with the experiment because he did not want to be responsible for whatever happens to the learner. The experimenter convinces Prozi to continue the experiment by saying, “I’m responsible for anything that happens to him. Continue, please” (Milgram 39). Milgram continues to provide evidence of more subjects that distance themselves from the responsibility of their actions in a section of his writing called “Duty Without Conflict.” Milgram states that, “The essence of obedience is that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another

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