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Reith Lectures Archive: 1948-1975 Podcast

Reith Lectures Archive: 1948-1975 Podcast

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Running Time
30 Min.

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BBC Radio now is offering the entire archive of their annual Reith lectures for free online on their site and as a podcast. The lectures feature leading intellectual figures discussing significant contemporary issues. The lectures started in 1948 with philosopher Bertrand Russell discussing the topic of "Authority and the Individual" in six lectures and all these lectures are featured on the 1948-1975 podcast.


Other great thinkers on the podcast include physicist Robert Oppenheimer (1953), economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1966), historian Daniel J. Boorstin (1975), philosopher John Searle (1984), military historian John Keegan (1998), neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran (2003), economist Jeffrey Sachs (2007), and political philosopher Michael Sandel (2009). For some of the speakers all of their lectures are included on the podcast feed while other just have one lecture on there. Enjoy these lectures from some of the greatest thinkers of the past 60 years.


Description

Series of annual radio lectures on significant contemporary issues, delivered by leading figures from the relevant fields.


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RLA: Daniel J Boorstin: America and the World Experience 1 1975

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Nov 12, 1975


American historian Dr Daniel J Boorstin explains why the desire to journey to new and undiscovered lands was important in the development of the United States of America in the first lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'America and the World Experience'. He considers the difference between a 'frontier' and 'the wilderness' for the first colonisers of the continent and explains how a community spirit of adventure made it all possible.

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RLA: Ralf Dahrendorf: The New Liberty 4 1974

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Dec 04, 1974


Sociologist and philosopher Professor Ralf Dahrendorf discusses the concept of diversity and averages in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series The New Liberty. He evaluates the socialist philosophies of different countries and contemplates what will happen when developing countries try to reassess their status as developed countries.

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RLA: Ralf Dahrendorf: The New Liberty 3 1974

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Nov 27, 1974


Sociologist and philosopher Professor Ralf Dahrendorf evaluates how equality has affected the progression of liberal justice in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The New Liberty'.

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RLA: Ralf Dahrendorf: The New Liberty 2 1974

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Nov 20, 1974


Sociologist and philosopher Professor Ralf Dahrendorf explores the liberal options available to society in the second lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The New Liberty'. He questions why recognised problems in society, which also have visible solutions, do not make any great progress. Who is it that prevents this potential from being realised?

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RLA: Ralf Dahrendorf: The New Liberty 1 1974

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Nov 13, 1974


Sociologist and philosopher Professor Ralf Dahrendorf reflects on the definition of liberty and its evolution in society in the first lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The New Liberty'.

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RLA: Alastair Buchan: Change Without War 6 1973

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Dec 19, 1973


Defence expert and Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Professor Alastair Buchan explores whether transnational co-operation could lead to global change in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Change Without War'.

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RLA: Alastair Buchan: Change Without War 3 1973

Author: BBC Radio 4
Wed, Nov 28, 1973


Defence expert and Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Professor Alastair Buchan analyses the United States of America’s multi-lateral power structures in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Change Without War'.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 6 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Dec 12, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield considers the longterm future of the European Community in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 5 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Dec 05, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield investigates how Britain’s inclusion will affect the European Community in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: A Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 4 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Nov 28, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield explores the effects of the European Community’s foreign policy in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 3 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Nov 21, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield explores Europe’s political relationship with America in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 2 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Nov 14, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield identifies the problems in creating a European Federation in the second lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'. He explores how political identity is mixed up with national identity, and explains why certain countries find it harder to join the European Community than others.

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RLA: Andrew Shonfield: Europe - Journey to an Unknown Destination 1 1972

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Nov 07, 1972


Political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield debates the prospects of the European Community in the first lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'. He questions the reasons for the European Community and advances the debate about what the future will hold for all the European nations.

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RLA: Richard Hoggart: Only Connect 6 1971

Author: BBC Radio 4
Tue, Dec 21, 1971


Cultural academic Professor Richard Hoggart analyses how humans fundamentally understand each other via communication in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Only Connect'. He asks, now that we have developed at an almost unbelievable speed, how will new technologies bring us closer?

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RLA: Donald Schön: Change and Industrial Society 1 1970

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 15, 1970


Director of the Organisation for Social and Technological Innovation Donald Schön describes how society needs a belief in a calm and constant identity and structure in the first lecture from his Reith Lectures series 'Change in Industrial Society'. Exploring times when this stability has been lost, he analyses the human need for the belief of a better time.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 6 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 14, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling asks who is accountable for the protection of the natural world in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Wilderness and Plenty'. He argues that population is almost certain to increase but pollution does not necessarily need to.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 5 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 07, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling considers the art of preservation and protection of the environment in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Wilderness and Plenty'. He considers how technology and preservation of the world could work together, and argues that science can be an enlightener if only industries and politics allow it to work.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 4 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 30, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling reflects on the problem of overpopulation in the fourth lecture from his Reith Lectures series 'Wilderness and Plenty'. entitled ‘Global Changes - Actual and Possible’. He ponders whether rises in prosperity and population might just signal the decline of the habitable world.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 3 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 23, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling explores the ecological consequences of the industrial revolution in the third lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'Wilderness and Plenty'. He examines the ecological consequences of technology since the industrial evolution and reflects on the way the rapid guzzle of oil, coal and nuclear materials has affected the environment.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 2 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 16, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling explores the impact of Man on his environment in the second lecture in his Reith Lectures series ‘Wilderness and Plenty’. Taking examples from prehistoric man, the industrial revolution and modern day technology, he considers whether the human race has taken all it can from the world to increase growth and development.

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RLA: Frank Fraser Darling: Wilderness and Plenty 1 1969

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 09, 1969


Ecologist and conservationist Sir Frank Fraser Darling argues for the conservation of humans in the first lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Wilderness and Plenty'. He considers how humans have dominated the natural world by constantly challenging it and altering it to their advantage. However, bringing together economics and ecology, he discusses what circumstances might lead to the need to conserve the human race.

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RLA: Lester Pearson: Peace in the Family of Man 3 1968

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 01, 1968


Canadian diplomat and historian Lester Pearson contemplates the concept of nationalism in an international world in the third lecture from his Reith Lectures series 'Peace in the Family of Man'.

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RLA: Edmund Leach: A Runaway World 6 1967

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 17, 1967


Social anthropologist Professor Edmund Leach explores the importance of the interconnectedness of the universe in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'A Runaway World'. He argues that everyone needs to understand where they fit in to the system, and provide a collective attitude of protection by communicating with each other. He suggests that educating and stimulating the young to enlarge their expectations in imaginative ways could lead to a better future.

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RLA: Edmund Leach: A Runaway World 3 1967

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 26, 1967


Social anthropologist Professor Edmund Leach analyses the human fear of isolation and the limits to interaction we have with other people in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'A Runaway World'. He asks where does our fear of the 'Other' come from, and why do we kill each other?

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RLA: John K Galbraith: The New Industrial State 4 1966

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 04, 1966


Keynesian economist J K Galbraith explores the power large corporations could have over the State in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The New Industrial State'. He argues that the state and private industry are moving closer together and warns there is a danger that the state could become too involved with industry, and consequently policies could be influenced by these corporations. Professor Galbraith looks at what the state should be providing for its citizens.

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RLA: Robert Gardiner: World of Peoples 4 1965

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 28, 1965


Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Robert Gardiner considers the problems of economic inequality and race relations in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'World of Peoples'. He analyses how race can interfere with economic forces by looking at economies for countries where different races live together. He asks, is there race equality within economics?

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RLA: Robert Gardiner: World of Peoples 3 1965

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 21, 1965


Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Robert Gardiner explores the myths of race, from past history to current frustrations, in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'World of Peoples'. He provides examples of misconceived ideas by both white and black people and asks how much of the colour conflict is due to fear? And if these fears were gone, would there be a chance of solving racial problems?

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RLA: Leon Bagrit: The Age of Automation 5 1964

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 13, 1964


British industrialist Sir Leon Bagrit considers Britain’s global future in the automated age in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Age of Automation'. He considers the possible improvements for daily life that could change Britain's status and keep it at the forefront of technology. This is vital, Sir Bagrit argues, in order to prove that The United Kingdom is still is a world leader.

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RLA: Albert Sloman: A University in the Making 4 1963

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 01, 1963


Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex Dr Albert Sloman considers how to build a social environment within the university in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'A University in the Making'.

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RLA: George Carstairs: This Island Now 3 1962

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 25, 1962


Anthropologist and psychiatrist Professor George Carstairs considers why teenagers are drawn to sex and violence in the third lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'This Island Now'. Are adolescents more sexually promiscuous? Are teenagers more aggressive? To answer these questions he discusses his own field research in India to compare Hindu communities to British ones in order to consider how social class affects teenage behaviour.

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RLA: Margery Perham: The Colonial Reckoning 4 1961

Author: BBC Radio 4
Thu, Dec 07, 1961


Director of the Oxford Institute of Colonial Studies Margery Perham considers the problem of the European colonists and race relations in the fourth lecture in her Reith Lectures series 'The Colonial Reckoning'.

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RLA: Margery Perham: The Colonial Reckoning 2 1961

Author: BBC Radio 4
Thu, Nov 23, 1961


Director of the Oxford Institute of Colonial Studies Margery Perham explores how anti-colonialism led to emancipation in Africa in the second lecture in her Reith Lectures series 'The Colonial Reckoning'. She analyses some of the converging events and influences which forced the rapid growth of African nationalism.

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RLA: Edgar Wind: Art and Anarchy 5 1960

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 11, 1960


Art historian Edgar Wind considers how machines have influenced the production and evaluation of art in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Art and Anarchy'. He considers how machines have influenced art and how mechanics have influenced the production and evaluation of art now that works can be reproduced and multiplied.

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RLA: Edgar Wind: Art and Anarchy 4 1960

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 04, 1960


Art historian Edgar Wind challenges the idea that intellect hurts the artistic imagination in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Art and Anarchy'. He argues that art and intellect should not be separated into one or the other, because together they have created some of the greatest works of art.

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RLA: Peter Medawar: The Future of Man 6 1959

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 20, 1959


Biologist and Nobel prize winner Professor Peter Medawar considers the future of human evolution in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series ‘The Future of Man’. He discusses the possibility of a new, non-genetic, system of inheritance and predicts that certain properties and activities of the brain will affect our evolution in the future.

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RLA: Bernard Lovell: The Individual and the Universe 6 1958

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 14, 1958


Astronomer, physicist and the first director of the Jodrell Bank Experimental Observatory Professor Bernard Lovell explores the continuous creation theory of the universe in the final lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'The Individual and the Universe'.

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RLA: Bernard Lovell: The Individual and the Universe 5 1958

Author: BBC Radio 4
Fri, Nov 07, 1958


Astronomer, physicist and the first director of the Jodrell Bank Experimental Observatory Professor Bernard Lovell contemplates the implications of evolutionary theory in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Individual and the Universe'.

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RLA: George F Kennan: Russia, the Atom and the West 4 1957

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 01, 1957


US diplomat and historian Professor George F Kennan discusses the military tensions between Russia and the West in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Russia, the Atom and the West'. He considers how atomic weapons have changed the relationship between East and West, and confronts the problem of the 'mutually assured destruction' doctrine.

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RLA: George F Kennan: Russia, the Atom and the West 3 1957

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 24, 1957


US diplomat and historian Professor George F Kennan considers the effect of Soviet satellite states in Europe in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series ‘Russia, the Atom, and the West. He explores the difficulties which have already arisen in Central and Eastern Europe over territorial conflict, and considers in detail the problems between Germany and the satellite states under Soviet rule.

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RLA: Edward Appleton - Science and the Nation 6 1956

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 16, 1956


Physicist and Nobel prize winner Professor Edward Appleton analyses the functions of teaching institutions, and explores how universities teach both applied and pure science in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Science and the Nation'.

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RLA: Edward Appleton: Science and the Nation 5 1956

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 09, 1956


Physicist and Nobel prize winner Professor Edward Appleton analyses the functional sciences created for industry in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Science and the Nation'. He explores the scientific research work carried out by industries in order to produce better products, and analyses how automation is expanding this kind of science.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 7 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 27, 1955


Art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner explores how the geographical, historical, social and aesthetical aspects of England’s town centres have influenced the planning process in the final lecture of his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 6 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 20, 1955


The art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner examines the sudden flowering of English landscape painting in the late 18th century in the sixth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'. He argues that this concentration was a direct result of the temperate English climate.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 5 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 13, 1955


The art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner explores the ‘Decorated Style’ which seems in every respect to be the opposite of the Perpendicular style which he examined in his previous lecture. Through illustrations ranging from English church architecture from 1290-1350 to the gentle curves of painters such as Gainsborough and Reynolds, Dr Pevsner places the artist William Blake (1757-1827) in the context of a very English tradition.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 4 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 06, 1955


Art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner examines the Perpendicular style formed in England in about 1330 in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'. It represented a complete break with what had gone before, but once it had been established universally in the country by the 1380s, it remained virtually unchanged for 150 years - so much so that even specialists struggle to determine accurate dates for this style of work.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 3 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Oct 30, 1955


Art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner examines the very English contradiction at the heart of the work of portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'. He argues that the far-reaching contrast between his promotion of painting in the Grand Manner, and how he actually painted, is eminently English.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 2 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Oct 23, 1955


The art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner considers the ‘Englishness’ of the artist and satirist William Hogarth in the second lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'. 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.

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RLA: Nikolaus Pevsner: The Englishness of English Art 1 1955

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Oct 16, 1955


Art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner asks why we study the history of art in the first of his Reith Lectures series 'The Englishness of English Art'. He argues that an understanding and appreciation of the work of the artist is truly life-enhancing, and he goes on to explore the English national character as it is expressed in terms of art.

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RLA: Oliver Franks: Britain and the Tide of World Affairs 3 1954

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Nov 21, 1954


Philosopher and civil servant Sir Oliver Franks analyses the political relationship between Britain and the USA in the third lecture from his Reith Lectures series ‘Britain and Tide of World Affairs’. He analyses the discomforts of the passage of power, McCarthyism, and the fear that the United States will lead us in a third World War.

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RLA: Robert Oppenheimer: Science and the Common Understanding 6 1953

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 20, 1953


Theoretical physicist and so-called 'father of the atomic bomb' Professor Robert Oppenheimer explains how human communities resemble atoms in the final lecture from his Reith Lectures series ‘Science and the Common Understanding’. 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.

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RLA: Arnold Toynbee: The World and the West 5 1952

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 14, 1952


British historian Arnold J Toynbee considers the psychological effects of culture in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'The World and the West'. He argues that the most important differences are invariably rejected, but that minor 'culture strands' are often allowed to flourish, creating a patchwork of cultural identities.

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RLA: Lord Radcliffe: Power and the State 5 1951

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Dec 02, 1951


Lawyer and Law Lord Cyril Radcliffe examines the early period of British administration in India in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Power and the State'. He argues that period, until the Indian Mutiny, succeeded more as a result of the character of its institutions than their excellence. He suggests this offers a classic example of how men really respond to the stimulus of great authority.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 6 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Jan 30, 1949


Philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bertrand Russell argues that man needs personal morality to guide his conduct and must learn to be critical of tribal customs and beliefs in the final lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Authority and the Individual'.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 5 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Jan 23, 1949


Philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bertrand Russell considers what matters should be controlled by the state in a healthy and progressive society in the fifth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Authority and the Individual'. He argues that in our complex world, there cannot be fruitful initiative without government, but nor can there be government without initiative.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 4 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Jan 16, 1949


Philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bertrand Russell examines the role human nature has played in the development of civilised society in the fourth lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Authority and the Individual'. He argues that poverty, suffering and cruelty are no longer necessary to the existence of civilisation and instead believes these can be eliminated with the help of modern science, provided it operates in a humane spirit.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 3 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Jan 09, 1949


Philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bertrand Russell considers the importance of individual initiative to a community in the third lecture in his Reith Lectures series 'Authority and the Individual'. He 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.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 2 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Sun, Jan 02, 1949


Philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bertrand Russell examines social cohesion throughout history for the second of his Reith Lectures series 'Authority and the Individual'. He examines how forms of social cohesion have developed throughout history and considers the effects of increasing state control, as exemplified by Soviet Russia.

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RLA: Bertrand Russell: Authority and the Individual 1 1948

Author: BBC Radio 4
Fri, Dec 24, 1948


Philosopher, mathematician, and social reformer Bertrand Russell gives the inaugural Reith Lecture. In the first lecture of his series 'Authority and the Individual' he examines the role of impulses in human nature and charts the way these impulses have manifested themselves throughout history, from very primitive communities through to more 'civilised' societies.

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