Andreas Elpidorou

writer and philosopher at the University of Louisville

Andreas Elpidorou is an academic philosopher and writer. He is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville. He specializes in the philosophical study of the mind and has published extensively on the nature of emotions (especially, boredom), consciousness, and cognition. He is best known for his work on the function and value of boredom. His most recent book, Propelled: How Boredom, Frustration, and Anticipation Lead Us to the Good Life, explores how negative emotions and states of discontent can help us live a more flourishing life.


  • In an episode of boredom, our current goal or situation is perceived as unpleasant and unappealing, often as devoid of meaning or significance; on the contrary, alternative goals and situations are made salient and appear to us to be attractive. Boredom thus facilitates the pursuit of alternative goals: it “pushes” us out of this non-stimulating, uninteresting, or unchallenging situation and into another. In motivating us to pursue a situation that is different from our current one, boredom ultimately promotes the restoration of the perception that one's activities are meaningful and congruent with one's overall projects.
  • Think of boredom as an internal alarm. When it goes off, it is telling us something. It signals the presence of an unfulfilling situation. But it is an alarm equipped with a shock. The negative and aversive experience of boredom motivates us – one might even say, pushes us – to pursue a different situation, one that seems more meaningful or interesting, just as a sharp pain motivates us not to put pins into our bodies.