The Case of the Speluncean Explorers.
The most important element to consider in the case of the Speluncean Explorers is that of common sense. We must not allow this to get lost among the complexities of argument. The letter of the law was written based on human morals and ideals and should not cease to be so today or ever. This is why in this particular instance it is not wrong to allow our sympathies for these unfortunate men to weigh on our opinions.
First let us consider the fact that the five trapped men, after learning that it would be atleast ten more days until they were rescued, sought a professional medical opinion as to whether or not they could possibly survive this duration. Upon being informed that they would not, they diliberated for eight hours after which they sought council first from the physician, then from a government offical, and finally from a minister as to whether or not it would be advisable to cast lots and kill and consume one of their members so that the others may survive. None of the three parties were willing to answer. Note that no one answered in the affirmative or negative. With their question unanswered, the men severed radio contact with the people outside.
What took place inside the cave during the period of no contact was the casting of lots and the murder and consumption of one of the five. It is common sense that no one of the members actually wanted to eat one of their party. Obviously for the members to kill and eat one of their friends was a last resort in the face of certain death, a sacrifice of one so that the rest may survive, and a experience that would haunt the surviving members for the rest of their lives. If you can deny that statement, then the deliberation with which the choice was made and the democratic manner in which the lots were cast are enough to prove the members" distaste for the idea. However, if they didn't carry out the plan they would all die, and why should they all die if four can survive? What real choice were they left?.