PHIL 2031 - Crime and Punishment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

Crime and Punishment is an introduction to the philosophy of criminal law. The course critically engages with philosophical ideas and principles that have shaped liberal legal theory. We consider the nature and scope of law, the role of the community in sentencing, and the justification of punishment. A special focus will be areas where liberal theory encounters controversy, e.g., pornography (free speech conflicts with harm to women), the criminalization of drugs (moralism conflicts with autonomy). The course would suit law students interested in the foundations of their discipline, and anyone with an interest in legal or moral theory.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 2031
    Course Crime and Punishment
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 Arts courses or equivalent, including 3 units in Philosophy
    Incompatible PHIL 2002 or PHIL 3002
    Assessment Tutorial presentation 20%, Essay (1750 words) 40%, Final examination 40%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Denise Gamble

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Achieve deeper understanding of and ability to evaluate liberal criminal legal theory and its foundational values, concepts and principles.
    2. Achieve greater awareness of the ethical, social and political dimensions of criminal law and how these dimensions are highlighted or reflected in contemporary events.
    3. Ability to analyse, explain and critique, or construct arguments.
    4. Ability to effectively research material from appropriate sources in order to compose a well-informed, well-reasoned essay.
    5. Ability to give an effective Powerpoint presentation in a tutorial setting and submit an associated tutorial paper.
    6. Ability to respectfully engage in responsive discussion in relation to other student's tutorial presentations.
    7. Ability to retain and demonstrate knowledge and understanding through clearly written short-essay answers in a closed-book final examination.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 4, 7
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2, 3, 5, 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2, 5, 6, 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2, 5, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2, 5, 6, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Scholarly articles and book chapters will be scanned and posted online to provide core content.
    Additional reading material will be posted online for each topic.
    Recommended reading lists will be provided for background reading and reading associated with essay topics.

    Recommended Resources
    Websites:; heinonline law library.
    Online Learning
    Lectures will be recorded and posted online. Students will be encouraged to research appropriate materials and videos online for their tutorial presentations.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures will introduce and explain key concepts, principles and theories, while directing students to foundational or specifically topical material. Lectures will be recorded and posted online.
    Tutorial questions will highlight problematic and controversial areas of criminal law in relation to liberal legal theory.
    Tutorial presentations allow students to explore a chosen topic in more detail and engage other students in an interesting way that may include utilising images and video clips.
    The essay provides an opportunity for students to research more material and provide deeper and more comprehensive critical analysis and discussion of an issue.
    Students will encouraged to increase media awareness to identify issues of concerns to the general community in relation to aspects of criminal law.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lecture attendance at a weekly 2-hour lecture - 24 hours total
    Tutorial attendance at weekly 1 hour tutorial for 10 weeks - 10 hours total
    Weekly reading for lectures and tutorials - average of 4 hours per week - 50 hours total
    Preparing a tutorial presentation and written-up tutorial paper - 8 hours
    Researching and writing an essay - 48 hours
    studying for exam - 16 hours.
    Learning Activities Summary
    A full schedule of lectures and tutorial topics will be posted prior to commencement of course and be included in Course Guide.
    Attendance at tutorials will be compulsory.  Students will be permitted to choose a pre-set essay question similar to their essay topic but will not be permitted to select an examination question from a pre-set list of questions that is the same as their essay topic.
    Learning methods ensure both comprehensive course coverage and scope for more in-depth focus of the student's own choosing.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Tutorials and tutorial presentations with responsive discussion provide a context for small group discovery experience that is well suited to a philosophy course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Tutorial presentation and
    tutorial paper
    Individual or
    20% 1, 2, 5
    Major essay (2500 words) Formative 40% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Final closed-book
    Summative 40% 1, 3, 7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance at tutorials is compulsory as is giving a tutorial presentation.
    Essays and tutorial papers will be electronically uploaded into Canvas.
    Assessment Detail
    The assessment methods taken together encourage and reinforce learning and measure the achievements of stated learning objectives.  They enable fair and robust judgments about student performance and allow students opportunity to demonstrate their learning in a respectful context.
    The assessment methods maintain academic standards account to
    Further detail and guidelines on assessment and assessment criteria will be provided in Course Guide prior to start of course and posted prior to the assessment item itself on Canvas.
    Essays and tutorial papers will be electroncially submitted into Canvas and marked online.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Grade descriptors and marking criteria will be posted online after commencement of course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Timely feedback on tutorial presentations and essays will be provided.
    Selt responses will be available online.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.