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Paper Topic:

Obeying Authority

Obeying Authority






Milgram 's experiment provided a logical answer to these questions : `is it possible that people will do things because they are merely obeying the s of a person in authority or `what will motivate a decent person to do unethical acts ' The answer to these questions was very important during his time . During the World War II over 5 Million Jews were executed by the National Socialist Regime led by Adolf Hitler (Manuel Velasquez , Claire Andre , Thomas Shanks , S .J , and Michael

J Meyer , 1988 ) Stanley Milgram , a Yale University Psychologist , theorized that it is very much possible that Adolf Eichmann executed these people because he was merely blindly obeying the s of a superior authority . This means that he was not a principal in the crime but a mere accomplice . This also means that the execution may have been done against his will

Thus , he set up his experiment to test and determine how much pain an ordinary citizen is willing to inflict on another person simply because he was ed to do so by a scientist , an authority figure . The result is that 60 to 65 of the participants were prepared to inflict fatal voltages against another person in obedience to the scientist 's

In Milgram 's experiment , the authority figure represented the scientist . In our lives , a person in authority could be our parents our professors , our boss in the office , the local policeman , the local priest , a fraternity or sorority senior , or any person in whom trust and respect is reposed . We consider a person to have authority over us because of their age , relationship , position , designation and even skill

I believe one reason why people obey a person in authority even if the latter 's is against morality is because one thinks that by obeying a person in authority he no longer becomes the doer of the action but simply the agent ( Milgram Experiment ) If he has done something wrong then he is not to be blamed . Thus , he rationalizes that any and all moral and legal responsibility for such action should not fall upon him and instead the responsibility should fall upon the shoulders of the person in authority

Another plausible reason why a person simply obeys a person in authority even if the deed is contrary to his sense of morality is moral ignorance ( Milgram Experiment ) It is possible that the doer may not know what to do in such a situation as a result his only course of action would be to follow the commands of a person in authority . He may be unaware that there are better options . When people do not know what to do and how to act in a particular situation as a result we allow other person to make decisions for us whom we trust and respect to be capable of making the right decisions


I think children are socialized to obey authority figures primarily because the...

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