The Case of the Speluncean Explorers sample essay
The group is expected to look at the case and find answers for the points raised herein.
1. What is the context/background in which this incident occurred? How does it affect the decision making? 2. In the decision making situation, how can a balance be brought about between the necessity for a decision and the rights of some people on whose behalf such decisions are being taken? Can a decision be made for another? When and how? 3. Can a killing in self-defense be excused? Why? Does the plea of ‘self-defense’ apply to the given situation? By the same logic does one have the right to suicide-singly or collectively? 4. Do jurisdictional issues affect societal decision making? 5. Do we need a leader for taking decisions?
6. Do a leader’s opinions/values affect the decision? Is it a good thing or not? 7. Can we view this as a simple judicial decision making issue or a moral one? 8. Does ones value system play any role in shaping the final decision? The questions are endless but the answers are one’s own.
If you are the judge what will you decide and why. Solution: 1. The decision occurred in a situation of necessity. Since the men were torn apart from society, from statutes, they forgot their societal values and norms, and resorted to carnal instincts. This affected the decision making since they were in a situation of desperation, and obviously could not think rationally then. They were driven by illogical and inhuman thinking.
2. A balance can be brought about by the spirit of equality in each of the people in the situation. If each of the people are given enough of right to be heard, and if they are able to speak out for themselves, then a balance can be achieved. Yes, a decision can be made for another only if the person consents to another’s opinion or decision. The person must explicitly express his consent to another making a decision on his behalf.
3. Yes, a killing in self-defense can be excused, if the person is cornered, and has no other option available, and is exposed to threat. The plea of self-defense does not apply to this situation, since the victim is not proved to have been threatening, or exposing them to any sort of danger. They are in a situation of equality, and neither party has a position of power over the other. In the given situation, it is stated that Whitmore did not consent to participate in the rolling of the die at the end, and it was against his will to participate in the gamble at the last instance, even if he did propose the idea, and plant the seed into the heads of the other 4 men. If he consented to die for the rest of the men, then his suicide is justified. They could have taken the gamble among the 4 of them, and not shared their “earnings” with Whitmore if he did not consent to participate in the gamble.
4. Yes, jurisdictional issues do affect societal decision making, since legality is opposed to morality in some cases, like in the above case. This has also been taken into question in other cases like Dudley vs.
5. Yes, a leader is needed for taking decisions, but the leader must be unanimous in his decision, and not let emotion defeat rational thinking.
6. They do influence a decision, since the leader has the trust of the members of the group, and he has the ability to influence their decision, and most of the times even change their point of view. If the leader thinks rationally, and is not biased in his decisions, then it is a good thing. However, if he uses his skill to unduly influence the decisions of his followers, even when it is against their values and beliefs, then it is detrimental.
7. It is a conflict of both – legality and morality.
8. Yes, since the law of the land is important in maintaining societal balance, and conformity. However, it must not be forgotten that laws have been made for the purpose of improving humanity, and not for destroying it. The ‘Law of Nature’ must not be used to the convenience of the defendant.
If I was the judge, I would support the sentence, since the Law of Nature does not state to what degree or extent is the term “nature” used. If a person steps into a forest, he comes under the purview of ‘nature’, so is he entitled to kill another human being without the fear of being tried in court? Thus, I defer with the opinion of Judge Foster. Also, I feel that the statements put forward by him are based on emotion, and not on evidence. Also, taking into consideration the consequence of letting the men free, it is highly improbable for any of them to wipe this incident off their minds, and they would have to live in guilt, or die of it. In most cases, people go mad as a result of such incidents. They are unable to live a healthy life in society, and they are not accepted in society.
These views, however, cannot be subjected to another’s. It depends on each person’s views, values and beliefs that he has been brought up with. His values would determine the type of decision he would have taken, and this can only be taken if there is Empathy felt towards the Spelunks, not just sympathy.
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