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Rank #65 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy

The Reith Lectures

Updated 7 days ago

Rank #65 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy
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Significant international thinkers deliver the BBC's flagship annual lecture series

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Significant international thinkers deliver the BBC's flagship annual lecture series

iTunes Ratings

101 Ratings
Average Ratings
68
17
8
2
6

Thank You!

By Reapers Fate - Mar 02 2017
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I've recently found this podcast and I can't get enough. I'm happy that these are available so easily to listen to and I hope more people find this. I think it's important to have such differing perspective and talks from people who have spent much of their lives learning more about the world.

Fantastic!

By Bjnebraska - Jun 09 2016
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Fascinating lectures by many of the world's preeminent academics and intellectuals. Includes a fairly impressive Q&A session following each lecture. They usually have 4 podcasts per lecturer, but not always.

iTunes Ratings

101 Ratings
Average Ratings
68
17
8
2
6

Thank You!

By Reapers Fate - Mar 02 2017
Read more
I've recently found this podcast and I can't get enough. I'm happy that these are available so easily to listen to and I hope more people find this. I think it's important to have such differing perspective and talks from people who have spent much of their lives learning more about the world.

Fantastic!

By Bjnebraska - Jun 09 2016
Read more
Fascinating lectures by many of the world's preeminent academics and intellectuals. Includes a fairly impressive Q&A session following each lecture. They usually have 4 podcasts per lecturer, but not always.
Cover image of The Reith Lectures

The Reith Lectures

Latest release on Jun 18, 2019

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: In God's Image

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Dr Steve Jones, Reader in Genetics at University College, London gives a series of lectures on the new biological insight into humanity.

In his third lecture, Dr Jones explores the power and consequences of natural selection. Differences in animals' physical characteristics vary according to longitude. Creationists see this as evidence of God's subtle design whereas Darwinists point to natural selection. Dr Jones explains how selection works and argues that there is less chance of it in modern Western societies than even a century ago.

Nov 27 1991

29mins

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Rank #2: Holding Nations And Traditions At Bay

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This year's Reith lecturer is the Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic Edward Said. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1963 where he is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Regarded as one of the founders of post-colonial theory, his 1978 book Orientalism is one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century.

In his second lecture, Edward Said explores the role of intellectuals from different cultures and backgrounds, and the choices that face them when deciding to side with the powerful or with the underdog. He examines that problems of loyalty and nationalism for intellectuals, and argues that their role is primarily to question.

Jun 30 1993

29mins

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Rank #3: Paradoxes & Pluralism

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Dr. Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth explores the language of religion in his fourth Reith Lecture on 'The Persistence of Faith'.

In this lecture Dr. Jonathan Sacks puts forward the idea of a society which speaks both a public language of citizenship as well as a local language of community in this lecture entitled 'Paradoxes of Pluralism'. Expanding on this concept of pluralism, he asks whether it has diluted religion or created cultural space for the individual.

Dec 05 1990

29mins

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Rank #4: The Origin of the Universe 1

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This year's Reith Lecturer is Professor Bernard Lovell, the first Director of the Jodrell Bank Experimental Observatory, and Professor of Radio Astronomy at Manchester University. During the Second World War, he helped to develop radar systems for aircrafts, for which he received an OBE in 1946. He delivers six lectures on the wonders of the solar system in his series entitled 'The Individual and the Universe'.

In his fifth lecture entitled 'The Origin of the Universe 1', Professor Bernard Lovell explores how we observe the horizon of the universe, and contemplates how we formulate theories in terms of known physical laws. He gives examples of evolutionary models and explains the implications of this evolutionary theory.

Nov 07 1958

29mins

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Rank #5: The Environment of Faith

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Dr Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, lectures in his first Reith Lecture on the 'The Persistence of Faith'. Explaining how he believes that the moral framework provided by religion is still the best alternative to the personalised, free-market ethics which prevail today.

In this lecture entitled 'The Environment of Faith', Dr Jonathan Sacks considers the state of Britain's religions. He asks; have modern cultures forgotten their faith forever?

Nov 14 1990

28mins

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Rank #6: The Origins Of War

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This year's Reith lecturer is British military historian and journalist John Keegan

In his second lecture, recorded at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, John Keegan looks at the origins of warfare, when combat first became purposeful, and examines whether evidence of violence and the need for war is embedded in human nature, or if it is only present in the external factors which act upon human nature. He argues that the evolution of conflict is inextricably linked to the evolution of social groupings.

Apr 15 1998

43mins

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Rank #7: The Demoralisation of Discourse

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Dr Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, explores religious ethics in his second Reith Lecture in the series 'The Persistence of Faith'. He investigates whether today's moral dramas centre more on the free-self than the saint or the hero.

In this lecture entitled 'The Demoralisation of Discourse', Dr Jonathan Sacks focuses on how modern morals are founded in faith. It is his belief that without the objective standards of religion we would have no coherent language of ethics.

Nov 21 1990

29mins

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Rank #8: The Role of Individuality

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The inaugural Reith Lecturer is the philosopher, mathematician, and social reformer Bertrand Russell. One of the founders of analytic philosophy and a Nobel Laureate, he is the author of Principia Mathematica, and the bestselling History of Western Philosophy, written in 1946. His Reith lecture series is entitled 'Authority and the Individual'.

In his third lecture, entitled 'The Role of Individuality', he considers the importance of individual initiative to a community, and argues for flexibility, local autonomy, and less centralisation in society. Modern organisations, he says, must be more flexible and less oppressive to the human spirit if life is to be saved from boredom.

Jan 09 1949

29mins

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Rank #9: Speaking Truth To Power

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This year's Reith lecturer is the Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic Edward Said. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1963 where he is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Regarded as one of the founders of post-colonial theory, his 1978 book Orientalism is one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century.

In his fifth lecture, Edward Said considers the basic question for the intellectual: how does one speak the truth? Is there some universal and rational set of principles that can govern how one speaks and writes? He examines the difficulties and sometimes loneliness of questioning authority, and argues that intellectuals should present a more principled stand in speaking the truth to power.

Jul 21 1993

29mins

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Rank #10: Confucian Ways

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Chinese Vistas: In a lecture recorded at the British Library in London, Jonathan Spence reflects on China's most enduring thinker, Confucius. Who was this man, what did he believe in, and what contemporary relevance does his message have, nearly 2,500 years after his death? The Confucian message has survived countless attacks and is being recycled by the Chinese Communist leadership today.

Jun 03 2008

43mins

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Rank #11: The Loss of the Stable State

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This year's Reith lecturer is the influential thinker Donald Schon. Previously a Professor of philosophy at the University of California, he was the director of the Institute for Applied Technology in the National Bureau of Standards, Department of Commerce. He is currently the co-founder and director of the Organization for Social and Technological Innovation (OSTI), a non-profit social research and development firm in Boston.

He delivers his Reith lecture on industrial technology and social change from his series entitled 'Change and the Industrial Society'.

In this lecture entitled 'The Loss of the Stable State', Donald Schon describes how society needs a belief in a calm and constant identity and structure. Exploring times when this stability has been lost, he analyses the human need for the belief of a better time.

Nov 15 1970

43mins

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Rank #12: Professionals and Amateurs

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This year's Reith lecturer is the Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic Edward Said. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1963 where he is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Regarded as one of the founders of post-colonial theory, his 1978 book Orientalism is one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century.

In his fourth lecture, Edward Said examines the possibility of amateur intellectuals and their influence on society. He explores the notion of the 'non-academic intellectual' and considers some of the current pressures on intellectuals to be marketable and uncontroversial as well as in areas of specialisation, political correctness and authority.

Jul 14 1993

29mins

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Rank #13: The Imperialism of Political Religion

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Reverend Dr Edward Norman, Dean of Peterhouse, Cambridge, explores the imperialist perspective of Christianity in his fourth Reith lecture. Speaking from his series entitled 'Christianity and the World Order' Norman explores Christianity around the globe.

He evaluates the way in which Western Christians view the Latin-American radical churches and believe that they are listening to the Christian word of the Third World. But are they really hearing from the oppressed and exploited majority of its society?

Nov 22 1978

26mins

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Rank #14: Culture

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The philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah says the idea of "Western civilization" or "Western culture" is a mistaken one and that we should abandon it.

He uncovers the history of the idea from its roots at the time of the Crusades to its modern incarnation in the second half of the 20th century. However, we have very little culturally in common with our forebears in say the England of Chaucer's time. And indeed much of the knowledge supposedly at the heart of Western civilisation was actually transmitted via Islamic scholarship. No-one, he argues, can claim exclusive ownership of culture. "The values European humanists like to espouse belong just as easily to an African or an Asian who takes them up with enthusiasm as to a European," he says.

The lecture is recorded in front of an audience at New York University in Appiah's adopted home city. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley

The producer is Jim Frank.

Nov 08 2016

56mins

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Rank #15: To Know Ourselves

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Sociologist A H Halsey, Professor of Social and Administrative studies at the University of Oxford, explores the characteristics of the British culture in his first Reith lecture from the series entitled 'Change in British Society'.

In this lecture entitled 'To Know Ourselves' Professor Halsey explains that to know ourselves we must explore the sources of consensus and conflict. How are differences between classes, sexes, generations and ethnic groups to be depicted? How have they been changing? Considering different division of sociological thought, Professor Halsey evaluates how society tries to bond under the classifications of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Jan 11 1978

29mins

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Rank #16: Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?

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This year's Reith lecturer is political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield. Currently the Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), he has previously worked as economic editor and foreign editor for The Observer (1958–61) and the Financial Times (1947–57). After fifteen years in journalism, he became the Director of Studies at the RIIA before a brief stint as Chairman of the Social Science Research Council from1969–70.

In his Reith series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination', he debates British entry into the European Community.

In this lecture entitled 'Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?', Sir Andrew Shonfield explores integration between the European nations and questions the reasons for of the European Community. He explores the power structures which create the Community's foundations and asks how joining the EC will affect Britain. He advances the debate about what the future will hold for all the European nations.

Nov 07 1972

28mins

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Rank #17: Genetics and Morality

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Professor Michael Sandel delivers four lectures about the prospects of a new politics of the common good. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley.

Recorded at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, Sandel considers how we should use our ever-increasing scientific knowledge. New genetic technologies hold great promise for treating and curing disease, but how far we should go in using them to manipulate muscles, moods and gender?

Jun 23 2009

42mins

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Rank #18: What We'll Never Know

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3. What We'll Never Know

In the third of this year's Reith Lectures, recorded at the Royal Society during its 350th anniversary year, its President Martin Rees continues to explore the challenges facing science in the 21st century. He stresses there are things that will always lie beyond our sphere of comprehension and we should accept these limits to our knowledge. On the other hand, there are things we've never even dreamt of that will one day be ours to explore and understand. The outcome of the quest for alien life will revolutionise our sense of self in the next two decades. But some things -- like travelling back in time -- will never happen.

Jun 15 2010

41mins

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Rank #19: Sustainable Architecture

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This year's Reith lecturer is Richard Rogers, one of the most influential British architects of our time. He has established himself and his practice at the forefront of today's architecture industry through such high-profile projects as the Pompidou Centre, the headquarters for Lloyds of London, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Millennium Dome in London. His series of lectures is entitled 'Sustainable City' and each lecture focuses on architecture's social role and the sustainable urban development of towns and cities through social and environmental responsibility.

In his third Reith lecture, Richard Rogers examines the ways in which buildings can enhance the public sphere and argues that our sometimes over-zealous preservation of buildings allows our architectural heritage to choke our future. Only by tailoring buildings to the changing needs of people and the environment, he says, can we sustain the public life of our cities.

Feb 26 1995

29mins

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Rank #20: English Lessons

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Jonathan Spence lectures about China.

Spence examines China's relations with the United Kingdom through three centuries of trade, warfare, unequal treaties and missionary endeavours that shaped their mutual perceptions.

Jun 10 2008

43mins

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