Professor Sylvia Berryman of the UBC Department of Philosophy delivers an STS colloquium talk titled “A Tale of Two (Social) Scientists: Milgram and Zimbardo” on Thursday, October 17, 5:00-6:30 in Buchanan Tower 1197.
Described as the most famous social psychology experiment ever, Stanley Milgram’s “obedience experiments” are often paired with Phillip Zimbardo’s “Stanford Prison Experiment.” Fifty years since the initial publication of these shocking results, we can reflect on their historical significance, as well as their philosophical implications and their place in social psychology. Their impact cannot be separated from the story of the two social scientists behind them, and how the historical setting shaped the questions being asked and the interpretative options considered. Of particular interest for STS is the image of scientific authority enacted in the experiments, and the role of the two experiments in changing the practice of social science. These experiments also provide the venue for two social scientists to adopt the role of public philosophers, and for philosophers to engage with social psychology research.