We consider thisexperiment as highly unethical today, but it was not the case when it wascreated. In the 60s, this was perceived as unethical but not unreasonable sinceit was for the purpose of a study. According to the modern ethical standard,the participants of an experiment must not be deceived. They must be informedabout any consequences if any and full disclosure must be given.
Milgram’sexperiment was however based on deception where the participants thought thatthey were actually shocking the ‘learners’. Another ethical issue raised wasthe participants rights to withdraw from the experiment. The participants werediscouraged to withdraw by the experimenter by giving four verbal prods. The Milgram experiment in unethical according to both Kantian and Utilitarianviews of ethics. Immanuel Kant was of the strong belief the lying is always wrong even if it’sfor a good cause.
Based on this view, Milgram’s experiment is a violation tothis because the method of conducting the research was based on deception. Helied to the participants and created an illusion. According to the utilitarianview, good consequences equals good actions. The best action is the one thatbrings the greater good for a greater number of people.
Based on this, theMilgram experiment is not justifiable since it caused emotional distress andanxiety among the participants. Any experiment that is conducted underdeception is against utilitarianism. MyViews: According to me, theMilgram experiment is unethical since the method of conducting the experimentwas based on deception. The fact that the participants were lied to are againstmy ethical view point.
Volunteers for an experiment has every right to know thecomplete details about it and any consequences or side effects if any.Although, the experiment had good intentions, it clearly caused distress,uneasiness and anxiety among the subjects. They were also discouraged towithdraw from the experiment which is again wrong. It was reported that threeparticipants underwent full blown seizures and many pleaded to stop theexperiment. Even though these effects were short term, it does not make itethical according to the modern ethical standards.