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Research On The Power Of Authority

869 words - 4 pages

This part of the study discusses some related literature and other sources to strengthen the foothold provided by the results of the study. It also discusses thing about the factors that are discussed in this study.
The mental operations which we have thus far described find the culmination of their development in the process which we know reasoning. This does not mean that reasoning is a totally new form of physical activity, to which the others subordinate. It means that in the process of reasoning the full implication and significance of these other conscious processes come clearly to light, while in it, they reach their completed evolution. Moreover, it does not mean that ...view middle of the document...

The obedience studies indelibly changed our understanding of the Holocaust. In early explanations of the brutalities, Nazi leaders were demonized as pathological sadists and monsters. Hannah Arendt challenged this in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, which depicted Adolf Eichmann as a conventional bureaucrat trying to further his career. Milgram, having seen ordinary people submit to authority in his experiments, concluded that Arendt's perspective "comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine." He argued that "the most fundamental lesson" of his findings was that "ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process (Thomas Blass Basic Books, 2004).
A subject in Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment at Yale obeys the experimenter's orders to administer an electric shock to someone. The study, completed in 1962, showed just how willingly ordinary people accept orders to inflict pain on others. From The Man Who Shocked the World (The Scientific Research Society 2004).
According to Prof Blass, Milgram never found a more effective way of undercutting the power of authority. Milgram himself took some comfort from the results, having been by his own admission both terrified and depressed by the outcome of the initial study. "When an individual wishes to stand in opposition to authority, he does best to find support for his position from others in his group," Milgram wrote (Daily Telegraph, 2004).
What is authority? Typically, in contemporary democracies, authority is considered to be a variant of power conferred upon people and institutions by...

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