I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do my final report on until I was at work and one of my bar regulars, who is a lawyer, was talking to me about what my final report should be over. He suggested a case they used in his first year of Law School-- The Speluncean Explorers.
It reminded me of when I was in grade school. We did an exercise where the whole class was asked to imagine they were on a boat that was slowly sinking and had to get on an escape boat. They were only allowed to bring three things. We had to make a list of the three things we would take. We were told to write it down on a piece of paper in turn it in at the end of class.
The above link shows a similar scenario and some lists people wrote. My peers in class were not so mature at this age. One student wrote something a lot like this…
A bigger gun
Either he really things he can survive with these things, or he was being funny. I am sure you could make a case for one or two of the things on his list. The next day, we came in to class and our lists were taped to the board. It was anonymous; our names had been whited out. We were asked to debate why or why not some of these items would be useful. This was one of the exercises in a series of exercises. The last exercise was one of the most realistic. We were told our boat was sinking and there was only one inflatable boat that held approximately five people. Only five people would be allowed on the boat and we had to choose who that would be. This wasn’t just to be a survival plan, we were the only people left in the world and we had the task of repopulating the whole earth. We were given a description of characteristics of each person in question. Then the task of choosing who would get to go on the boat started.
Some people thought the older individuals were out of the question. They might not make it because they were not the healthiest or most fit. Others thought the elders would be very wise and we needed at least one because of course “history does repeat itself.” Similar debates went on like this according to whether some were smart, had trades of particular interest, or could bare children. Ect. Ect.
So, you are asking where this leads.
The Speluncean Explorers is a case used very often in law and ethics. The story goes….