Fromm on Milgram's Obedience Experiment

Fair Use

This is an excerpt from The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness" (NY: Fawcett Crest Books, 1973), pp. 68-75, by Erich Fromm. Fromm is very doubtful about psychologically-based behavioristic experiments and begins this piece with a critique of them. He then goes on to apply this to Stanley Milgram's Obedience Experiment. He ends this with the following:

(The Nazis had to use an elaborate system of camouflage of atrocities in order to cope with the conscience of the average man.) Milgram's experiment is a good illustration of the difference between conscious and unconscious aspects of behavior, even though no use has been made of it to explore this difference. p.76

Thus, Fromm interprets the results of Milgram's experiment very differently...sort of seeing the bottle "half full" rather than "half empty," so to speak.

Following this section on Milgram, Fromm goes on to critique another famous "controlled" experiment...Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. You can find that critique HERE

There are four sections (two paperback pages each) here, each a jpg image.

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4

TSS Directory