Anna Gát

How David Hume Helped Me Solve My Midlife Crisis

The story of independent research, intellectual courage, and relentless investigation beyond conventional wisdom. Leading developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik has a breakdown and a hunch, and ends up resolving an enduring mystery in the history of the Enlightenment. A must-read!

How People Learn to Become Resilient

One of my favourite pieces on resilience that made me weep the first four times I read it. Maria Konnikova explores the legacy of child psychology legend Norman Garmezy, and the unexpected science of why some kids “should” churn out of school based on hardship and circumstance, but they don’t – and what we can all learn from them.

Breaking Points

A brutal and beautiful piece by the philosopher Agnes Callard about the lesser discussed problem of friend breakups and through it the entire ethics of separation and, ultimately, the question of what we as humans owe each other.

Kim Kardashian vs Taylor Swift: a battle of two PR styles

I first came across the young culture critic Anna Leszkiewicz via this piece purportedly about the Taylor vs Kanye debacle, but in reality about so much more: what are the different types of fame available to the ambitious in the 21st century, what are the downsides of each type and choice, and what can we find out about society (i.e., ourselves, their audience) from this?

How to Be Good

Larissa MacFarquhar’s famous portrait of the philosopher Derek Parfit is not only a fascinating introduction to Parfit’s arcane work, but also an exploration of the Western mind, what personal identity is and how it might change throughout the techno-absolutist 21st century, and of eccentric genius in general.

Boundary Issues

Young Lily Scherlis is a recent discovery of mine; I was blown away by the much-welcome clarity of this essay. I often feel that when people seem to talk about “boundaries” they’re in fact talking about a variety of other things that we somehow can’t name. Scherlis deep-dives for us into this mess and comes back up offering good solutions for how to think better about whatever we mean by “boundaries”.

The Right to Sex

I knew of the Oxford philosopher Amia Srinivasan from her work on Nietzsche and philosophical genealogy (i.e., the study of how one idea leads to another), so it was quite a surprise to find this excellent essay penned by her about incels, chosen or unchosen sexlessness, and what right people have to each other’s bodies. Thought-provoking read. (The book that was born from this article is sadly less so…)

Royal Bodies

When the British novelist Hilary Mantel - author most famously of the Wolf Hall trilogy - passed away in 2022, she left empty a literary space that a whole generation of writers will now fight to fill but possibly can’t. If you don’t know where to start with Mantel, whose signature books span around 1,000 pages each, I warmly recommend this article. The language, the style, her power of observation, and her humour are inimitable. Her presence: timeless.