In Our Time - The Jesuits
Melvyn BraggToday we’re discussing the Jesuits, a Catholic religious order of priests who became known as “the school masters of Europe”. Founded in the 16th century by the soldier Ignatius Loyola, they became a major force throughout the world, from China to South America. “Give us a boy and we will return you a man, a citizen of his country and a child of God”, they declared. By the 17th century there were more than 500 schools established across Europe. Their ideas about a standardised curriculum and teaching became the basis for many education systems today. They were also among the greatest patrons of art in early modern Europe, using murals and theatre to get their message across. However, their alleged influence over monarchs, their wealth and their adaptability to local customs abroad provoked suspicion, prompting their eventual suppression in the late 18th century. They were re-established in 1814 and now have more than twenty thousand members. So why was education so important to the Jesuit movement? How much influence did they really have in the courts of Europe and in the colonies? And were they really at the heart of conspiracies to murder kings?
In Our Time - The Philosophy of Love
Melvyn BraggMelvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosophy of love. With Professor Roger Scruton, author of many books including Sexual Desire; Angie Hobbes, lecturer in philosophy at Warwick University; Thomas Docherty, Professor of English at the University of Kent.
In Our Time - The Translation Movement
Melvyn BraggOne night in Baghdad, the 9th century Caliph Al-Mamun was visited by a dream. The philosopher Aristotle appeared to him, saying that the reason of the Greeks and the revelation of Islam were not opposed. On waking, the Caliph demanded that all of Aristotle’s works be translated into Arabic. And they were.
In Our Time - Time
Melvyn BraggMelvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of mankind’s attempt to understand the nature of time. With Dr Neil Johnson, theoretical physicist at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University and Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer 1999 on the subject of Time; Lee Smolin, cosmologist and Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University.
In Our Time - Utopia
Melvyn BraggMelvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of Utopia. With Dr Anthony Grayling, human rights campaigner, lecturer in philosophy at Birkbeck College, London and Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford; John Carey, distinguished critic, journalist, broadcaster, Merton Professor of English, Oxford University and editor of, The Faber Book of Utopias.
In Our Time - Vitalism
Melvyn BraggFrankenstein may seem an outlandish tale, but Mary Shelley wrote it when science was alive with ideas about what differentiated the living from the dead. This was Vitalism, a belief that living things possessed some spark of life, some vital principle that lifted them above dull matter. Electricity was a very real candidate.
The Reith Lectures 2003 - 1 - Phantoms in the Brain
Vilayanur S. RamachandranScientists need no longer be afraid to ask the big questions about what it means to be human with empirical evidence now answering ancient philosophical questions about meaning and existence
The Reith Lectures 2003 - 2 - Synapses and the Self
Vilayanur S. RamachandranHow does the activity of the 100 billion little wisps of protoplasm - the neurons in your brain - give rise to all the richness of our conscious experience, including the "redness" of red, the painfulness of pain or the exquisite flavour of Marmite or Vindaloo?
The Reith Lectures 2003 - 3 - The Artful Brain
Vilayanur S. RamachandranProfessor Ramachandran draws on neurological case studies and work from ethology (animal behavior) to present a new framework for understanding how the brain creates and responds to art. He will use examples mainly from Indian art and Cubism to illustrate these ideas.
The Reith Lectures 2003 - 4 - Purple Numbers and Sharp Cheese
Vilayanur S. RamachandranProfessor Ramachandran demonstrates experimentally that the phenomenon of synesthaesia is a genuine sensory effect. For example, some subjects literally "see" red every time they see the number 5 or green when they see 2.
The Reith Lectures 2003 - 5 - Neuroscience: The New Philosophy
Vilayanur S. RamachandranProfessor 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.
The Reith Lectures 2006 - 1 - In the Beginning was Sound
Daniel BarenboimSt John said, "In the beginning was the word", while Goethe claimed that, "In the beginning was the deed". But in these lectures Daniel Barenboim's contention is that: In the beginning was sound
The Reith Lectures 2006 - 2 - The Neglected Sense
Daniel BarenboimIn Chicago Daniel Barenboim will be trying to rescue "the neglected sense" - the ear - and launch a campaign against muzak
The Reith Lectures 2006 - 3 - The Magic of Music
Daniel BarenboimIn Berlin Daniel Barenboim argues that we have lost the ability to make value judgements about public standards - all because of political correctness and bad education
The Reith Lectures 2006 - 4 - Meeting in Music
Daniel BarenboimIn the first of his lectures from Jerusalem Daniel Barenboim will talk about how music is the great equaliser as he discovered in his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which brings together young Arab and Israeli musicians
The Reith Lectures 2006 - 5 - The Power of Music
Daniel BarenboimMusic has shown Barenboim that there is a fundamental difference between power and strength which could map a new journey for our politics
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 1 - Confucian Ways
Johnathon SpenceChinese Vistas: Jonathan Spence delivers a series of lectures about China. Spence reflects on China's most enduring thinker, Confucius
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 2 - English Lessons
Johnathon SpenceSpence examines China's relations with the United Kingdom through three centuries.
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 4 - The Body Beautiful
Johnathon SpenceSpence discusses how Chinese ideas of sport and athleticism have slowly evolved.
The Human Animal: A Personal View of the Human Species
Desmond Morris, 1994This book shows that, however much we may think we have evolved from our animal ancestors, our instincts and behaviour are still rooted in our animal past. In this portrait of the human species, Morris takes us right to the centre of human existence and explores all aspects of human life and behaviour