Question of Ethics

760 Words4 Pages
Positive law can be defined as a written law that has been passed by a branch of government, regardless of whether it offends anyone's sense of right and wrong. Positivism separates law and morality (Mayer, Warner, Siedel, and Lieberman). Positivists believe that any ethical theories of morality, religion, and justice should play no role in the analysis of the law. Positivism has two values. First, by requiring that all law be written, it ensures that the government will clearly explain to the members of society their rights and obligations. In a legal system run with positivist beliefs, the accusers would never be unfairly surprised by the governments’ unwritten law. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments include this positivist value by requiring that all people receive notice of any pending legal actions against them so that they can prepare a defense. Second, positivism controls judicial preferences. In some cases judges are not satisfied with the outcome of a case. For example, some judges may not want to allow a landlord to evict a family with small children in the middle of winter, even if the law allows such action when rent is overdue. However, positivism requires judges to decide cases in agreement with the law. Positivists believe that the integrity of the law is maintained through a neutral and unbiased judiciary that is not guided by subjective ideas of fairness ("Free Dictionary by Farlax"). Now referring back to the case of Regina V. Dudley and Stephens, the two men would be found guilty based on positive law. The written law states that killing is illegal except in the case of self-defense. The boy who was killed was not harming any of the other men. Dudley and Stephens plotted against the boy to kill him, so in the e... ... middle of paper ... ... is right if it produces the greatest good for the majority of the people. If you think an action will bring the maximum amount of happiness to the most number of people, then it is the right thing to do. In the perspective the of the utilitarianism view Dudley was looking out for his group. He decided to that killing of the boy and eating his flesh would bring the most amount of happiness to his group. In my opinion I would still find the men guilty because Dudley had his own interest in mind. The most frequent mistake people apply to utilitarianism is assuming that the greatest good for them or their company is in fact the greatest good for all. Dudley assumed killing the boy would be ethically ok but he in fact did not even ask the boys opinion on who to kill. If Dudley would have asked everyone in the boat their opinion this philosophy would then come into play.
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