andreas elpidorou



department of philosophy
university of louisville

about

i am an assistant professor (term) in the department of philosophy at the university of louisville. previously, i was a visiting lecturer in the department of philosophy at boston university (2012-13). i hold a ph.d. in philosophy from boston university (2013) and a b.s. in physics from the university of virginia (2006). i was the recipient of a fulbright scholarship (2002-6), a leventis foundation scholarship (2009-11), and an earhart foundation fellowship (2012-3). for the 2009-10 academic year, i was a visiting scholar in the department of philosophy at the university of pittsburgh. in 2008, i was a junior visiting fellow at the institut für die wissenschaften vom menschen.

i work on philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of cognitive science and psychology, and phenomenology.

sketch by grey gold illustration (greygold.info)

research

general description

my philosophical work is the product of my engagement with the single yet multifaceted question: “what is a mind?” my approach to the question is ecumenical, drawing on differing but ultimately complementing perspectives. from a metaphysical perspective, i consider the ontological status of the mind, its place in nature, and its relation to the body. from an experiential or phenomenological perspective, i investigate what first-person experience tells us about the nature of perception, imagination, and emotions. finally, from an empirically informed or cognitive-scientific perspective, i take up questions concerning the nature of explanation, the constitution and location of mental processes, and the relationship between philosophical theses and empirical findings. 

by adopting a philosophical outlook not restricted to a single methodological stance, i am able to make use of a variety of sources. in my work, i juxtapose issues from metaphysics,  philosophy of mind, phenomenology, epistemology, and philosophy of science, on the one hand, with findings from neuroscience and cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, on the other. i do so in an attempt to confront issues pertaining to the nature of the mind in a manner that is both systematic and comprehensive.

anne truitt, “untitled” (1964)

work on consciousness & epistemic arguments against physicalism

in a series of articles and a forthcoming book, i develop an account of the nature of phenomenal concepts (i.e., the concepts that we deploy when we introspectively examine our phenomenal experiences) and use this account to respond to epistemic arguments against physicalism – that is, arguments that purport to infer an ontological gap between consciousness and physical processes from an epistemic gap between phenomenal truths and physical truths. consciousness, i hold, is physical even if truths about our conscious lives are not epistemically (or a priori) entailed by physical truths. in fact, i show that what accounts for the epistemic gap between phenomenal truths and physical truths is not consciousness’ exceptional (i.e., non-physical) nature, but instead the peculiar character of the way in which we conceptualize and ultimately think about consciousness.

work on physicalism

the debate surrounding the veracity of physicalism (and consequently, the ontological status of consciousness) is not the only debate that concerns physicalism. a related and equally important debate concerns the very nature and character of physicalism. precisely what is the thesis of physicalism? how should it be defined? what are the commitments of physicalism? what needs to be true in order for physicalism to be true? in my research, i seek to provide answers to these questions. i argue for a theory-based definition of physicalism – one that defines physical properties in terms of the properties that are postulated by current physics. i reject the contention that physicalism is committed to the view that all truths can be a priori entailed by physical truths. and i show that physicalism should be distinguished from micro-physicalism since the former does not entail the latter.

work on philosophy of psychology, cognitive science, and phenomenology 

coming to terms with the nature of mentality requires more than an examination of the mind’s ontological status. it also requires an investigation into what the mind does and how it does it. for that reason, i also confront issues pertaining to the nature of the mind by drawing upon and combining cognitive-scientific and phenomenological perspectives. in my published work, i delineate the role of appraisals in emotions and examine what phenomenology reveals about the nature of imagination. presently, I am interested in articulating the character of boredom. to this end, i am developing an account of boredom that holds that on account of its affective, volitional, and cognitive aspects, boredom motivates the pursuit of a new goal when the current goal ceases to be satisfactory, attractive, or meaningful to the agent. boredom thus helps to restore the perception that one’s activities are meaningful or significant. it acts as a regulatory state that keeps one in line with one’s projects.

books & edited volumes

monograph

the illusion of contingency: a defense of conceptual dualism. 

edited books and journal issues

“the character of physicalism.” special issue of topoi, forthcoming 2016. 

philosophy of mind and phenomenology (co-edited with d. dahlstrom and w. hopp), new york: routledge, 2015.

“the phenomenology and science of emotions.” special Issue of phenomenology and the cognitive sciences, 2015. (guest co-editor with l. freeman)

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy