Explain why Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky are considered predecessors of existentialism.
Discuss the appropriate response to a prisoner who goes on hunger strike. Is it ever justified to force feed a prisoner who refuses to eat? Hunger strike is a dilemma for prison authorities. It is like two sides of a coin, they have to make a choice, to save the life of the prisoners or to let them die. Prisoners’ hunger strike has been conducted for years in many parts of the world aimed to reach certain goals, solidarity, political struggle and to express opinions. States have the responsibilities to maintain prison security while at the same time preserving the health and well-being of prisoners on hunger strike. The relevant legal framework on state responsibility in the issue of hunger strike and force feeding is the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 2 on the Right to Life and Article 3 prohibition of torture, and for the United Kingdom Human Rights Act 1998 under the same articles. Other related provision would be Article 8 on the right to private life (ECHR). The duty of the prison authorities to preserve prisoner’s health and life, including conducting force administering food best described in Leigh v Gladstone (1909). During that period of time the Home Secretary had the obligation and the power to prevent prison suicide including force-feeding prisoners who went on hunger strike. Suicide, abetting and aiding of ‘suicide’ was considered a criminal act. Lord Alverstone CJ states that “it was the duty of prison officials to preserve the health of prisoners in their custody and that duty extended to force feeding” In this case Article 2 prevails under the condition that suicide is an act of crime. In the case of R. , S. , A. and C v. Portugal, the European Commission on Human Rights found that it was “certainly disturbing that such along time could have elapsed without the applicants being put under medical supervision” There is a fine line to distinguish hunger strike from suicide, and it is not an easy task. Most philosophers argue that “suicide can be accomplished by passive means, such as refusal to eat” As hunger strike could lead to the possibility of death, it is still a question whether it is an act of suicide or merely an exercise of right of self determination. John Williams’s hunger strike categorizations may give a clear description on the motive and the type of hunger striker. However, he also realizes that placing a prisoner within one of the categories is difficult particularly in analysing the situation when “death is a possibility, although not an objective” and “death is the desired objective”. Thus Annas observes that the courts have concluded that a refusal of treatment that inevitably leads to death is not a suicide.>