The Case Of The Speluncean Explorers Case Study

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The Case of the Speluncean Explorers is a fictionalized account of a dystopian court case consisting of a summary of the events leading up to that case and the Supreme Court’s decision in upholding the conviction. To summarize the case, a group of explorers found themselves stuck deep in a cave for over a month—when resources were well beyond depleted, the leader (Roger Whetmore) decided that one of the men should be killed and eaten in order to save the others’ lives. Whetmore bowed out of the decision at the last minute; the other explorers, however, continued on and Whetmore was killed after being faced with an unlucky dice roll. This is the basis of the case at hand—should these explorers be punished for murder? The decision of whether or not the explorers should be convicted for murdering one of their own requires a different question entirely—can murder be justified? The natural response to this question is that it cannot, and this is not incorrect—murder is an immoral act that should not be taken lightly. However,…show more content…
J. Foster makes the most rational argument. Justifying Whetmore’s murder on the grounds that the explorers were “not in a ‘state of civil society’ but in a ‘state of nature’” (Fuller, 6), he establishes the argument that law is not static. If this event had taken place in typical circumstances, it would be accurate to convict the explorers—however, because they were forced to rule themselves, the written laws were not functional; nature was the only ruling force, making cannibalism appear as the only viable option. Foster ends his statement by saying, “One of the most ancient bits of legal wisdom is the saying that a man may break the letter of the law without breaking the law itself” (Fuller, 8). Thus, the explorers’ actions may have gone against written law, but not against nature and consequently should not be
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