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The Queen Versuse Dudley And Stephens

In this report, I will be using the sited case - The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens (1884) with reference to the relevant moral philosophies to anlayse what exactly are the possible options that individuals would decide when they are in the same situation as Dudley.

Four English sailors were caught at sea in a tiny lifeboat in the South Atlantic, over a thousand miles from land. They had only two cans of preserved turnips no fresh water. That they had been without food and water for several times. And lastly, Captain Thomas Dudley advised getting rid of Richard Parker so that they could prey on him. Dudley and Stephens ended up killing Parker, and ate him to endure. These were rescued four days later and visited trial. These were sentenced to death charges; however, their word was reduced to half a year imprisonment later.

2 Utilitarianism and Categorical Imperative

According to Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), the utilitarian beliefs state governments that the right move to make is whatever will optimize utility. He designed energy as whatever produces pleasure or pleasure and whatever inhibits pain or sufferings. He had made the assumption that individuals are governed by the feelings of pain and pleasure and this human like pleasure and dislike pain. This doctrine said that the right thing to do is whatever produces "the best good for the best number".

On the other hand, Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) provides us with another solution viewpoint - Categorical Essential. He said that categorical locates morality in certain duties and right whatever the consequences. He regards morality not as to maximize joy but rather regard people as an end, and never as a way to an end. We have to treat people with respect and not use them as mere musical instruments.

3 Moral and Ethical Issues Raised

Some moral issues increased from this circumstance would be that 'Would it be morally justified to wipe out an innocent person out of necessity in order to avoid a great many other innocent people from dying?'; 'Would it creates a notable difference if Parker provided consent to be the one being wiped out?' and 'Will it be morally justified to prey on Parker, presuming he died effortlessly?'

Some may argue that it might be essential to wipe out one person in order to save three lives. In this case, they support Bentham's utilitarianism. While others might oppose the thought of utilitarianism and argue that Parker could have the to live and to kill a person is regarded as murder regardless of the reason which suggests the doctrine of categorical imperative.

4 Viewpoints of Captain Thomas Dudley and Edwin Stephen

Both Dudley and Stephen claimed that they wiped out and ate Parker. Beneath the extreme situation, they had no choice but to wipe out someone out necessarily.

Why is requirement so important to the extent that someone will eliminate another person to conserve the many other folks? Regarding to Oxford dictionary, requirement is defined as something you must have and cannot manage without. Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that you have to fulfill the basic physiological needs before other needs. Physiological needs refer to food, air, normal water, breathing, nourishment, etc. Dudley and Stephen were faced with the problem without water and food, which are considered as their basic needs.

I believe that in cases like this, the fear of dying (without water and food for several days) makes them do anything in order to endure for a short while longer to preserve hope of recovery. Their particular lives and family members motivated these to kill Parker. The decision made might be unacceptable by others. During near-death experience, Parker was thought to be food to them; they would not think that it is morally wrong by consuming him. Majority in the same situation as them would have probably done a similar thing.

For case, people suffering from famine, often transform to apply cannibalism as a final resort. Through the famine period (1609 - 1610) in colonial Jamestown, colonists turned to cannibalism. One man was confessed to acquire killed and ingested his pregnant wife out necessarily (Colonial Williamsburg, 2007).

They determined that the best decision that will gain most of individuals is always to destroy Parker, the weakened and sick, since he is the probably to pass away before them. I've made an assumption that that they had used Bentham's notion of utility - a currency of value to judge the benefits. They had translated individual life into economic terms. They had families to support unlike Parker who had no dependents. Therefore, the death of Parker can not only gain Dudley and Stephen, but also their families in terms of financial support no grieving over lost of their families.

They do not regard this as morally wrong as they think that your choice made was for "the best good for the greatest number". Teacher Michael Sandel's example - The Runway Trolley shows that most of the people would convert the trolley car onto the medial side track, killing one person instead of five people for the first scenario. This is similar to the case of Dudley and Stephen where they wiped out one person to conserve more people except that in the trolley circumstance is not cannibalism. They may have made the same decision as what almost all will do.

5 Viewpoints of Dudley and Stephen's Families

Their hobbies would be that Dudley and Stephen ought to have the to live. I intended they recognized utilitarianism where Dudley and Stephen would be looked at as morally justified to obtain eaten Parker out necessarily. I think that the thought of "the best good for the greatest quantity" is recognized by their families. Without this, Dudley and Stephen would be deem as criminal and maybe sentenced to death. They considered their welfare as a whole would become more beneficial than having all four sailors to die, leaving their own families with grieve and no support.

6 Viewpoints of Richard Parker

Dudley and Stephens disrespected Parker's specific rights. Everyone possess the to live, however, utilitarianism only concerns about the sum of satisfactions. In Parker's viewpoints, I think that he would favour impartiality, where he has got the right to choose. Impartiality would mean that every person's passions are equally important; from the moral viewpoint, there are no privileged folks. We must recognise other's welfare as important as their own.

Another issue lifted is that he's an orphan and he previously no dependents, will this imply that they could violate Parker's individual rights? AMERICA Declaration of Freedom announced in 1766 that men are endowed with certain inalienable privileges, which "among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". I think that Parker prefers categorical important than utilitarianism. Categorical treat people as end instead of treating the person as an instrument to achieve something else. It might be morally wrong, to work with Parker as a tool because of their own success.

7 Viewpoints of Basic Public

General public would be interested to know how this verdict would impact future similar circumstances. Precedent becomes binding and must be accompanied by courts of same list. If judge allows the utilization of necessity as a defence, then you will see a higher threat of more atrocious criminal offenses. And the challenge surge with who should decide what is considered as necessity.

8 My Stand as Captain Thomas Dudley

If I were Dudley, I'd not eliminate Parker and somewhat wait for rescue under the same circumstances. I'd determine moral as the principles of right do or the difference between right and incorrect. I'd support categorical imperative in this situation. The reasons for my choice are as below:

Individual rights

I think that human being have certain fundamental rights. Kant talked about that "everyone is worth esteem, not because we own ourselves but because were rational beings, capable of reason; we could also autonomous beings, capable of acting and choosing freely". We should take into account of individual needs. However, utilitarianism would claim that by taking account of specific needs as opposed to the overall needs would produce increased unhappiness over pleasure. Utilitarianism requires us to market the overall welfare which results in no top priority given to our own interests. It mentioned that every person's life and interest get ranking equally with everyone else's.

For instance, when a parent believes that by reducing his child to be burnt in a building, convinced that another person in the building should be preserved as their future contribution to the general welfare seems greater than the child's. (Cyndi Lenders, 2004) I'd think that the parent's act as immoral. It is because relatives and buddies are not simply members of humanity, they can be special to us and if we were to show no more concern for their welfare than others, it just does not seem to be right.

I want to put the money of value to individual life would be inappropriate. Human life is beyond calculations and assigning monetary terms to it does not suffice. This is because money could not buy health (life).

Murder is murder, innocent

Moreover, I feel that murder is recognized as fundamentally wrong, no matter under what situation; murder is still not morally permissible. Without doubt that sometimes murder is use as self-defense, but it could be morally wrong. If indeed they were to take action, then what's the difference between them and the person who is creating danger to them? For instance, in the case of terrorists, they killed thousands of people to be able to achieve their purpose. When these terrorists were trapped by the authorities, they interrogated and tortured them. In this manner, the authorities are acting like the terrorists where they use others in order to achieve their goal.

Kant said that we shouldn't use people as devices to achieve their own goals. I'd consent to his proven fact that individual has the rights to live on which is unfair to utilize them to accomplish their goal. Some may say that the terrorists deserved for what they did. However, Parker is innocent, he didn't do anything wrong to Dudley and Stephen nor performed he choose to die.


This brought up another problem of whether consent were given by Parker, would be morally justifiable for Dudley to take action. I feel that the consent distributed by Parker will be a justification (but not necessary the morally right reason) for Dudley to eliminate him. This merely lessens Dudley's guilt, but nonetheless morally inappropriate.

It does not imply that the permission directed at take action would be morally appropriate. For example, if A were to provide authorization to B to destroy C, will this imply that B is correct? I assume that everyone would concur that B is wrong.


Parker had no family whereas Dudley and Stephen got people at home. These were without food and water for numerous days and your choice to get rid of Parker might have save the others. I understand that under extreme situation, the fear of dying would make someone do something that he or she would not did previously. However, this does not permit them to kill parker. I feel that under no circumstances that someone has the capacity to voluntary take another person's life.

Lord Denning laid down the overall approach from the situation of Southwark London Borough Council v Williams (1971) that necessity should be refused as a defence often anarchy and disorder would follow. He add on that if cravings for food was permitted to end up being the basis necessarily, any poor person might seek to justify burglary to steal food by declaring that he / she had reasonable believed that this was a reply to the risk of malnutrition.

As a rational person, I think that this might not be what everyone would wish. Therefore, even in Bentham's viewpoint, to measure the overall happiness, I think it would be more appropriate to consider everyone instead of just Dudley, Stephen and their own families. It would be morally incorrect for Dudley and Stephen to get rid of Parker.

Die in a natural way and feed on parker?

9 Conclusion

I think that people will determine the right thing to do (whether involved or as onlookers), and decide based on different philosophies for different situations. They tend not to follow one particular philosophy at all times.

For example, the case of ticking time bomb, where torturing of terrorist is required to reveal the bomb's location (Michael Sandel, 2009). I really believe majority would support the idea of torturing the terrorist to save thousands of lives even our company is uncertain of whether he is aware of the positioning. I still think that it might be morally wrong to torture the terrorist because I do not want to act such as a terrorist. However, I think that it isn't about right or incorrect but rather you must do it while you recognized it was wrong.

The difference between this circumstance and Dudley's case is the impact. Inside the terrorist's circumstance, not only thousands of lives are involved, the impact is better where other countries might also be influenced as well (financial and travel and leisure).

Secondly, I feel that guilty does not equate to morally inappropriate and vice versa. In the same way, legislations and morality won't be the same, and a lot of things may be immoral which are not necessarily illegitimate. If these men were found innocent, it could sign the divorce of regulation from morality.

Lastly, I feel that it would be a smart decision for not allowing necessity to be used as defence. Exactly like what Lord Denning possessed said, by allowing necessity as a defence, disorder would follow. Then what is the reason for having laws and justice? Laws is to uphold the justice in contemporary society, if necessity can be used as defence, and then there will be a great deal of excuses of the wrongdoer.

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