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Men and Morality

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 03 December 1967

This year's Reith lecturer is the British social anthropologist Professor Edmund Leach. He is the current Provost of King's College, Cambridge and throughout his academic career he has challenged received notions about cultural change. He explores the notion of 'relational structures' in his Reith series entitled 'A Runaway World?'

In this lecture entitled 'Men and Morality', Professor Leach explores the connection between fear and morality. What is morality and how does it affect what we do? He analyses how humans learn from each other through observation, which allows the patterns of the social structure to be understood. Through this subtle examination the ethical principles by which people live can be learnt. However, he asks what happens when new situations arise? Now science has given us an almost god-like power to alter the state of the world, what sort of moral principles should guide our use of this power?

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