Critique Of Disobedience

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A Critique on “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem” Joy Zeynoun American University of Beirut English 204 Mrs.Lina Bioghlu February 15, 2016 The matter of obedience and disobedience has been a matter of debate amongst philosophers for millennia. Often, it is the grand acts of disobedience that serve as the spark beginning the defining moments of human history. Yet, still the moral philosophers argue on the virtue of obedience or disobedience as no definitive answer has been reached despite the great importance this subject has on human history. In Erich Fromm’s article “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem”, the author discusses…show more content…
Fromm argues that the possibility of mankind destroying itself through disobedience is more common than what most would believe (Fromm 1984 ). Fromm first discusses the very first act of disobedience in history: the story of Adam and Eve. He states that the sin didn’t corrupt man, but instead set him free. He then draws a comparison to the story of Prometheus, saying that mankind has started and continued to evolve with acts of disobedience. Prometheus proudly states his disobedience and would rather be tortured than obedient. Fromm then restates his opinion on mankind’s destruction, saying that if it does happen, it will be because we will have obeyed those who push us to do evil (Fromm 1984). He then discusses the two types of consciences: the “authoritarian conscience” and the “humanistic conscience.” The authoritarian conscience is what people follow when they want to obey or please an authority. The humanistic conscience is based on our intuition and the voice of our humanity. To coincide with these ideas, he discusses “rational” and “irrational” authority. An example of a rational authority would be a teacher-student…show more content…
Blind obedience to the state can cause humanity’s extinction, as in the example he gave. Fromm seems to take a more radical approach to the issue of disobedience. However, he did clarify that obedience is not always a sin, but what actually is a vice is blind obedience to powers antagonistic to man’s interests. Blind obedience will surely lead to the loss of individuality and may lead to man undertaking immoral and inhumane decisions as he considers the fact that he is following orders from an authority which claims to be all-knowing as a valid excuse. In the Nuremberg Trials, many German soldiers pleaded innocent and cited the fact that they were simply follow commands given to them by a superior officer as evidence for their innocence. (Barajas, 2016) Man’s fear of disobedience is so engrained that it leads a person to disregard his own morals. Man must follow his own judgement and only follow other authorities if his interests lie with theirs, as mankind cannot excuse his immoral behavior without the existence of an evil authority to whom he and others are completely obedient to, leading to a freer world where individual thought is encouraged enabling mankind to further develop and

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