Analysing Moral and Ethical Issues in Queen V. Dudley and Stephens.

1994 words 8 pages
Analysing Moral and Ethical Issues of the Queen v. Dudley and Stephens.

Moral and ethical issues In the case of the Queen v. Dudley and Stephens, there were several moral and ethical issues. I will explain them in this section using facts from Prof Michael Sandel’s video, the cited case, and a book titled “Cannibalism and common law: a Victorian yachting tragedy” by Alfred Bryan William Simpson. First, on the 23th of July, Dudley first suggested that ‘someone’ should be sacrificed to save the other 3. That ‘someone’ referred to the Richard Parker and he was not consulted. Why? Although Brooks rejected the idea and no actions were followed up, it marked the start of an intention to kill. Second, on the 24th of July, Dudley proposed to
…show more content…

Evaluate alternatives actions
The moral philosophy of utilitarianism locates morality in the consequences of an act, which is to maximise the overall happiness. On the other hand, categorical Imperative moral philosophy locates morality in certain duties and rights, regardless of the consequences. I assumed Captain Thomas Dudley in real-life was a utilitarian. Taking Parker’s life to extend the lives of the 3 of them was the maximising the overall happiness. Moreover, Stephens and Dudley had wives and families back in England, so it was not just their maximising happiness, but also their families back home, over Parker who was an orphan and had no responsibility. Yes, Parker had siblings, but since they are working, I assume they can take care of themselves. It is unfortunately not the same for Dudley and Stephens, whose children are so young. Hence, what mattered were the consequences that one would die for three to live. A possible alternative is if Dudley had a heart of Jesus Christ, he could have sacrificed himself for others. Now based on the philosophy of categorical imperative, the process of killing him, putting a knife into his throat on someone defenceless is morally injustice. Offering a prayer and asking for forgiveness does not justify anything. There was no consent too. Murder is categorical imperative. What about cannibalism? Does consuming