Obedience to Authority

Topics: Psychology, Milgram experiment, Social psychology Pages: 2 (690 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Outline: Obedience Synthesis
I. Background Information: Obedience defined by Andrew Colman, in human behavior, is a form of “social functions in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authory figure". Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the majority. Obedience can be seen as both a sin and a virtue. No human social organization can function without some degree of obedience to authority, as the alternative would be anarchy leading to total chaos. Hence, we find some sort of a hierarchy in both the most underdeveloped and the most civilized societies where certain individuals exercise authority over others. Almost everyone will agree that some degree of authority in certain individuals or groups (and their obedience by other groups) is desirable for the proper functioning of a society. The problem arises when the obedience to authority is taken to extremes. Unfortunately, history has shown that this happens time and again, usually with undesirable results. It is this blind obedience to authority that every individual with a conscience needs to guard against. II. Thesis Paragraph: Obedience to authority can become dangerous when morals and independent thought are stifled to the point that harm is inflicted upon another person. The conflict between compliance with the demands of those in authority and individuals having private and sometimes different views has been a subject of debate since ancient times in religion and philosophy. Obedience is thought to have a constricted function because its capacity is controlled by the action of people who conform to authority. III. Reasons that Support the Thesis Statement:

A. The desire to be accepted and belong to a group is an undeniable human need. When individuals abandon their own freedom for the benefit of the larger group, they are no longer...
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