crimes & criminals



Although a crime may be understood as any violation of the law, it is not the case that every law-breaker is a criminal. One cannot thus understand criminals simply as law-breakers, but must look for psychological differences between people who commit crimes. For example, in a country where adultery is against the law, an adulterer is a criminal, but not in a country where there is no such law.

A crime is a social phenomena, and not simply a particular violation of the law. Many laws, such as those concerning speed limits, are broken, but many do not consider speeding as a crime, or think of themselves as criminals when they break the speed limit.

The relation between crimes and criminals is a complex one that requires thinking through beyond one’s acquired attitudes to and beliefs about crimes and criminals.