University of Technology Sydney

78039 Wickedness and Vice

Requisite(s): ( 70311 Torts OR (70110 Introduction to Law AND (76006c Public International Law OR 70108c Public International Law OR 76110c Introduction to Public International Law)) OR ((94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04236 Juris Doctor OR 142 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04250 Juris Doctor Master of Business Administration OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04363 Juris Doctor Master of Intellectual Property OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04364 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Trade Mark Law and Practice) AND 70106c Principles of Public International Law AND 70107c Principles of Company Law) OR (70106 Principles of Public International Law AND 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04320 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Professional Legal Practice))
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


The legal system organises and expresses multiple meanings. This subject analyses the various ways in which the legal system communicates different conceptions of wickedness and vice. This subject engages with traditional jurisprudential approaches such as natural law and positivism to theorise about the criminal legal system as a system of blaming. The subject introduces students to various jurisprudential and general philosophical accounts of the legal system's approach to wickedness and vice. These theories are applied to specific issues, including questions about our duty to obey, the regulation of morality, the malice of the law and the characterisation of terrorism. The subject examines representations of evil in literature and film to supplement and analyse legal representations of wickedness. This subject is timely, given increasing international reliance on a 'discourse of evil'.

The subject provides students with skills to understand and critically apply theory. Theory is essential to the law, providing a way of thinking about issues and imagining the world differently, particularly when a legal problem appears to be insurmountable.

Students apply skills of analysis, research, communication and critical thinking – learning to not only evaluate and synthesise information, but also to critique legal and academic arguments. Students engage in a rigorous process of reading and discussion that includes thought-provoking philosophy and jurisprudence, as well as judgments and other legal documents and events. Students develop their capacity to communicate understanding of the concepts and critiques of the materials by presenting their ideas in seminars and through written assessment.

Detailed subject description.

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Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.