Saturday, 20 June 2009

Michael Sandel delivers the Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4

This year's Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4 will be delivered by political philosopher and Harvard University professor, Michael Sandel, Listen here

Mr Sandel, whose work has addressed issues such as ethics, democracy, and the erosion of community and moral values, will deliver a series of lectures under the title "A New Citizenship" addressing the "prospect for a new politics of the common good".

The prestigious lectures, which were last year delivered by Yale University professor Jonathan Spence on China, will be broadcast on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service in June.

The Reith Lectures began in 1948, delivered by the philosopher Bertrand Russell on the subject of "Authority and the Individual". Named after the BBC's first director general, John Reith, the lectures aim to encourage understanding and debate about issues of public interest.

Sandel said he hoped his lectures would prompt public discussion about the prospect for a "new politics of the common good".

"The Reith Lectures have a storied tradition of engaging the life of the mind and the public square," Sandel said. "At a time of political change and economic turmoil, we need new thinking about the common good.

"What, in an age of globalisation, are the moral limits of markets? What should be the place of moral and spiritual values in public life? How is biotechnology transforming our relation to nature and the environment?"

A professor of government at Harvard, his undergraduate course Justice - about moral and political philosophy - will be the basis of a 12-part public television series in the US in the autumn.

This year's lectures will be delivered in London on May 18, Oxford on May 21, Newcastle on May 26 and Washington DC in early June.