Read: http://www.nullapoena.de/stud/explorers.html before addressing the following, which is an answer to the question the case raises.
“Before the dice were cast, however, Whetmore declared that he withdrew from the arrangement, as he had decided on reflection to wait…”
The issue as I view the facts relates to whether a man may wage his life in contract?
Thus, my opinion is that a man may not wager his life, nor should a society support the bartering of one’s life to save another. This is a decision remaining with the person and flexible with his whims.
Pro 1. As this case relates to assisted suicide, one of the arguments against it is that a person can no longer make a contribution to society.
Con 1. Similarly, the contribution to society would be that he allowed others to live in place of his life.
Pro 2. The individuals should have waited until one of the men died naturally before eating him.
Con 2. Similarly, had they waited, they might have all died, or at least the chance was great that more than one person would have died had they waited out the natural course of one.
Pro 3. Regardless of the arguments related to “Law of Nature” or jurisdiction as relates to time and place, men are inherently the same and enjoy the capacities of pain and joy. Therefore, sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying, whether to save others or not instill a seriousness. That seriousness would explain a general refrain from making another keep their side of a bargain.
Con 3. Similarly, the “seriousness” itself would weigh so heavily under the circumstances of a unified approach to death that those sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying itself, would avail the obligation of the losing party to uphold their bargain simply because the need to live would overpower the desire to take that person’s place if they changed their mind.