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Rank #34 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy

The Reith Lectures

Updated 7 days ago

Rank #34 in Philosophy category

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

Read more

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

iTunes Ratings

97 Ratings
Average Ratings
64
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

97 Ratings
Average Ratings
64
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.

The Best Episodes of:

Cover image of The Reith Lectures

The Reith Lectures

Updated 7 days ago

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

Rank #1: 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 #2: The Conflict of Technique and Human Nature

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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 fourth lecture, entitled 'The Conflict of Technique and Human Nature', he examines what part human nature has played in the development of civilised society, and argues that poverty, suffering and cruelty are no longer necessary to the existence of civilisation. He believes these can be eliminated with the help of modern science, provided it operates in a humane spirit, and with an understanding of the springs of happiness and life.

Jan 16 1949

28mins

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Rank #3: Suffer the Little Children

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British academic lawyer Professor Sir Ian Kennedy explores the concepts of modern medicine in the third Reith lecture from his series entitled 'Unmasking Medicine'.

In this lecture entitled 'Suffer the Little Children', Professor Kennedy considers how the National Health Service needs reforming and gives a conceptual blue print of how he believes improvements should be completed. Exploring the political, economic and social decisions which influence the way the NHS is run, he questions whether more preventative measures could be taken to stop certain illnesses reaching hospitalisation level?

Nov 19 1980

29mins

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Rank #4: Hogarth and Observed Life

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Dr Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his second lecture, Dr Pevsner considers the 'Englishness' of the artist and satirist William Hogarth (1697-1764). He explores the characteristics which he says make Hogarth a particularly English artist, and argues that his work embodies the ideals of the Age of Reason.

Oct 23 1955

29mins

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Rank #5: Let's Kill All the Lawyers

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British academic lawyer Professor Sir Ian Kennedy explores the concepts of modern medicine in his sixth Reith lecture from his series entitled 'Unmasking Medicine'.

In this lecture entitled 'Let's Kill All the Lawyers', Sir Ian Kennedy explores how consumerism can regulate the medical industry. He explains how consumerism sets standards, measures performances and provides sanctions for the medical profession. He compares Britain's free National Health Service with the privatised American Health Care System to analyse the best ways of managing the accountability of doctors.

Dec 10 1980

29mins

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Rank #6: The Doors of Mental Illness

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British academic lawyer Professor Sir Ian Kennedy explores the concepts of modern medicine in the fifth Reith lecture from his series entitled 'Unmasking Medicine'.

In this lecture entitled 'The Doors of Mental Illness', Professor Kennedy explores the concepts of mental illness. Professor Kennedy questions the responsibility and power placed in the hands of medical experts and evaluates how mental differences are treated in society. He considers what mental health really is and demonstrates the shaky ground that the concept of mental illness rests on. Is it a medical complaint or is it a judgement created by society to highlight abnormalities?

Dec 03 1980

29mins

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Rank #7: The Psychology of Encounters

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This year's Reith Lecturer is British historian Arnold J Toynbee. The former Director of Studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, he is currently the Koraes Professor of History at London University. He considers how Europe interacts with other countries in his Reith Lecture series entitled 'The World and the West'.

In his fifth lecture entitled 'The Psychology of Encounters', Professor Toynbee examines ways in which countries respond to new cultures. He argues that the most important differences are invariably rejected, but that minor "culture strands" are often allowed to flourish, thus creating a patchwork of cultural identities.

Dec 14 1952

30mins

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Rank #8: 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 #9: The Sciences and Man's Community

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This year's Reith Lecturer is American theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer. Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, he has been described as the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project while Director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory between 1943–45. In his Reith lectures entitled 'Science and the Common Understanding', he examines the impact of quantum and atomic theory on society.

In his sixth and final lecture entitled 'The Sciences and Man's Community', Professor Oppenheimer explains how the "House of Science" helps us to understand the underlying profundities of the earth and our lives. He draws parallels between the construction of human society and the atom: each man is dependent on the next, and through the power of the collective, Man's power grows with the shared knowledge of individuals.

Dec 20 1953

30mins

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Rank #10: Neuroscience - the New Philosophy

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This year's Reith Lecturer is Vilayanur S Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition. He has lectured widely on art and visual perception of the brain and is Editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia of Human Behaviour. Professor Ramachandran's work has concentrated on investigating phenomena such as phantom limbs, anosognosia and anorexia nervosa.

In his final Reith Lecture, Professor Ramachandran argues that neuroscience, perhaps more than any other discipline, is capable of transforming man's understanding of himself and his place in the cosmos.

Apr 30 2003

42mins

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Rank #11: 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 #12: Biodiversity

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To mark the new millennium, this year's Reith Lectures are delivered by five different thinkers, each eminent in a different field. At the end of the run, the Prince of Wales presents his own views on the topic in a roundtable discussion with all five lecturers.

The Millennium Reith Lectures deal with one of the most pressing issues of our time - sustainable development. The second lecture, delivered from Los Angeles is by Tom Lovejoy.

Tom Lovejoy is Chief Biodiversity Advisor for the World Bank and Counsellor at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. He is a former member of the White House Science Council and UN Environment Programme, and is a specialist in environmental biology of the tropics and Latin American region.

In his lecture about biodiversity, Tom Lovejoy raises issues about our treatment of creation and our status within it. He believes that biodiversity is the best single indicator of an area's long term biological and economic health.

Apr 19 2000

43mins

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Rank #13: 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 #14: Phantoms in the Brain

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This year's Reith Lecturer is Vilayanur S Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition. He has lectured widely on art and visual perception of the brain and is Editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia of Human Behaviour. Professor Ramachandran's work has concentrated on investigating phenomena such as phantom limbs, anosognosia and anorexia nervosa.

Professor Ramachandran begins his Reith Lecture series on 'The Emerging Mind' by arguing that scientists need no longer be afraid to ask the big questions about what it means to be human. With empirical evidence, science can now answer ancient philosophical questions about meaning and existence. By studying neurological syndromes that have been largely ignored as curiosities or mere anomalies, we can sometimes acquire novel insights into the functions of the brain. Many of the functions of the brain, he says, are best understood from an evolutionary vantage point.

Apr 02 2003

42mins

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Rank #15: 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 #16: The Artful Brain

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This year's Reith Lecturer is Vilayanur S Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition. He has lectured widely on art and visual perception of the brain and is Editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia of Human Behaviour. Professor Ramachandran's work has concentrated on investigating phenomena such as phantom limbs, anosognosia and anorexia nervosa.

In his third lecture, which is the most speculative one in the series of five, Professor Ramachandran takes up one of the most ancient questions in philosophy, psychology and anthropology, namely, what is art? To do this he draws on neurological case studies and works from ethology (animal behaviour) to present a new framework for understanding how the brain creates and responds to art, and uses examples from Indian art and Cubism to illustrate these ideas.

Apr 16 2003

42mins

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Rank #17: The Culture of Cities

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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 first lecture, Richard Rogers explores the fundamental dichotomy of the city; that it has the potential to both civilise and brutalise. He argues that the decaying fabric of urban life must be transformed into a sustainable, civilising environment, through the greater emphasis on citizens' participation in city design and planning, if we are to avert catastrophe. By putting communal objectives centre-stage, he says, we can transform the fabric and environment of our cities through greater, genuine, public participation and committed government initiative.

Feb 12 1995

27mins

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Rank #18: 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 #19: Collaboration

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This year's Reith Lecturer is the distinguished engineer, Lord Broers. He is President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee.

In the second of his Reith Lectures, Lord Broers explores the origins of modern technologies and argues that global collaboration is essential for success. He argues that advancement must take in to account, social, environmental, economic, and political factors on a world level.

Apr 13 2005

42mins

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Rank #20: 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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