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Issues in the Philosophy of Criminal Law - LAW00048M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Matt Matravers
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

  • The module considers a section of advanced questions in the philosophy of criminal law. Typically, these will include the justification of legal punishment; the nature and scope of criminalization; liability, excuses, and defences; and sentencing.
  • The module aims to develop academic skills in the reading of legal and philosophical texts and the relating of those texts to moral and political problems.
  • As a result, the module aims to develop in students analytical skills of problem identifying and solving.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • By the end of the module, students should be able to analyse and understand advanced arguments in the philosophy of criminal law;
  • They should be able to demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of a variety of philosophical and legal issues relevant to the law.

Academic and graduate skills

  • To identify, retrieve and discriminate among sources of information relevant to philosophical questions about law;
  • To synthesise and analyse a variety of information sources to develop further knowledge, construct arguments, draw conclusions supported by appropriate authority, and evaluate the merits of alternative arguments.


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Oral and written feedback will be given on the Autumn Week 8 essay by the end of the Autumn Term.

Indicative reading

H. Gross, Crime and Punishment: A Concise Moral Critique, OUP, 2012.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.