Crime and punishment: - philosophical approaches

Ref: C2337934

Many people have strong feelings about crime and punishment, making it difficult to reflect. This course allows that - to explore what we mean by crime, how (or whether) punishment can be justified, and to gain a better understanding of how people arrive at conflicting conclusions. The course will cover 1. examples of what is morally wrong but not a crime, or a crime but morally ok 2. moral judgements and actions 3. ideas about morality : Do the consequences of actions matter most ? or what is intrinsically moral ? or what it means to be a moral person ? 4. ideas about crime : retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation 5. punishment : Should it be physical, psychological, a reconditioning of the mind ? 6. consolidation and evaluation Study sources : B Dupre, 50 Philosophy Ideas (Quercus), chs 15, 16, 20 S Law, The Philosophy Files, ch 6 Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 'punishment' M Foucault, Discipline and Punish

Course aim

to evaluate arguments about crime and punishment using philosophy

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give an example each of actions which are morally wrong but not a crime, or a crime but morally ok
  • Explain at least two meanings of 'moral'
  • Summarize the three main theories of crime (retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation)
  • Give an outline of different ideas of punishment
  • explain what you have learnt about crime and punishment - your own ideas and other people's

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The 'homework' will not be compulsory.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Students will be encouraged but not expected to present their ideas to others in the group.

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Bring pen and paper and an electronic device such as a smartphone if you have one (not expected).

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full Course information sheet

Crime and punishment: - philosophical approaches


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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