Philosophy

Discussion

Deception, Obedience and Authority

Peter Ingrama1

a1 The Queen's University of Belfast

In his article, ‘Milgram's Shocking Experiments’, in Philosophy 52 (1977), Professor Steven C. Patten rejects Milgram's evidence for a Hobbesian view of human nature on three grounds: that the claim that a large number of the subjects in the experiments were not deceived is not convincing, that there is a conceptual conflation by Milgram of two senses of obedience, and that a proper understanding of kinds of authority will explain in an acceptable way the behaviour of most of the small number of subjects who might remain to support Milgram's conclusions. Patten's arguments in support of all three grounds are unsatisfactory.