Milgram Experiments

Milgram Experiments

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The Milgram experiments, conducted by Stanley Milgram, focused on obedience to authority, and the lengths to which a subject would go, when prodded by someone in there authority. This may not seem at all a morally significant issue, however, the experiments were carried out in such a way that they would be under sever scrutiny by the courts and by the general population if attempted in western society today.

The Milgram experiments, conducted in the U.S. in the 1960's, consisted of a subject, whom either volunteered or was selected, who was lorded by a laboratory official to administer increasingly higher amounts of electric shock to a victim who was sitting behind a screen in front of them. These subjects were told to follow out these orders until the victim had perished from this intense and inhumane treatment.

It is now widely known that Milgram had actually hired people to play his "victims" and that these people were in fact not connected to any wiring and therefore were never injured in any way. Their screams of agony were simply faked as the subjects were forced to continue with orders, unaware that they were not causing any harm and it is this aspect of this experiment that I find a particularly significant moral issue. These subjects were stripped of their rights, forced to undertake this experiment, which caused each participant to experience such intense amounts of stress that led some to the verge of a nervous breakdown. I therefore believe that this is indeed a moral issue, for no person, not even in the instance of science, has the right to put anyone in a situation that could potentially threaten the mental stability of another human being.

An example of the implications that this experiment had on the stress levels of the subjects was recorded by Milgram himself. Milgram noted that one individual, a "mature and initially poised businessman," entered the laboratory quite relaxed and confidently, however after twenty minutes of being subjected to this cruel experiment, the subject was reduced to the brink of a nervous breakdown. He was seen to be twitching, twisting his hands and pushing a fist into his forehead and at no stage did the experimenters ease the experiment, instead they continued to note the obviously sever distress of the man.

To anyone who does not agree with my standing on this issue, I would ask them to try and empathise with the people in this situation, who were led to believe that there was no other choice for them but to murder an innocent individual.

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To further my point, I would remind the individual that in no circumstance is it morally correct to take from somebody their rights in terms of their actions, and pressure them into committing an act which the subject considers to be morally wrong for this could have dire mental and emotional effects on the subject and no one has the right to jeopardise that
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