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Realistic Love: An Interintellect Valentine’s Day Special of Philosophy and Emotion in New York City

Thursday January 25 at 6:30 pm - 11:30 pm EST

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Join our favourite couples therapist Esther Perel in New York City for this this very special night of philosophical conversation with Merve Emre, Agnes Callard, and Skye Cleary, about realistic love: how do we love realistically in life, philosophy, and literature?



Is realistic love possible? Is it ethical to advocate for it? Can it be depicted? Whose love is realistic? Should we learn from them, or save them? We’ll explore what it means to be realistic about love—neither idealistic, nor cynical, but that special midway—and what responsibility popular psychology, literature, and the media might have in shaping this. Followed by mingling and a love-themed DJ party. Come join us!

Esther Perel

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 40 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into more than 30 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Esther is also the host of the hit podcast Where Should We Begin? which is available on Apple Podcasts. Her latest project is Where Should We Begin – A Game of Stories with Esther Perel. Learn more at EstherPerel.com or by following @EstherPerelOfficial on Instagram.

Merve Emre

Merve Emre is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University and the Director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism. She is the author of Paraliterary, The Ferrante Letters, and The Personality Brokers, which was selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the New York Times, the Economist, NPR, CBC, and the Spectator. She is the editor of Once and Future Feminist, The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway, and The Norton Modern Library Mrs. Dalloway and is writing a book called Love and Other Useless Pursuits. She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and her essays and criticism have appeared in publications including The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and others. She was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize, the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle. Learn more at merveemre.com.  

Agnes Callard

Agnes Callard’s primary areas of specialization are ancient philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of action. A widely published academic writer, Professor Callard is also interested in public philosophy. She has written for The Point Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Boston Review, and other publications. A frequent commentator on podcasts and sought-after interview guest, she is also the host of the popular Night Owls series, which features faculty-led, late-night conversations each year on arcane philosophical topics. She is also the author of Aspiration: the Agency of Becoming and On Anger, which she both edited and wrote the lead article for, and was selected as one of the best books of 2020 by The New Yorker. She was the 2020 co-recipient of the American Philosophical Associations’ Lebowitz Prize, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of philosophy. Callard is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Loeb Fellowship, among other awards.  

Skye Cleary

Skye C. Cleary PhD MBA is a philosopher and author of How to Be Authentic: Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Fulfillment, Existentialism and Romantic Love, and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Skye teaches at Columbia University, and previously at the and the City College of New York, Barnard College, the New York Public Library, and with incarcerated students. She is also a Thinking Partner with Philosophy at Work. Her work has been published with The Paris Review, Aeon, The Times Literary Supplement, TED-Ed, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Independent, The Conversation, Business Insider, New Republic, and others. She was a MacDowell Fellow (2021), awarded the Stanford Calderwood Fellowship (2021), a New Philosopher magazine Writers’ Award (2017), and a New York State Assembly Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Community Outreach and Professional Empowerment (2023). Learn more at skyecleary.com



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The following books will be distributed by a lottery draw among ticket holders: 

Recommended readings:



The event is supported by our friends and partners O’Shaughnessy Ventures and presented by Higher Ground Education at The Academy of Thought & Industry at Museum Mile.

Refreshments will be provided.

This is a members only event. Please sign in to RSVP.



Thursday January 25
6:30 pm - 11:30 pm EST
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Ticket price (US$)
FREE (members only)