Is Profound Boredom Boredom?

In Christos Hadjioannou (ed.), Heidegger on Affect. Palgrave (2019)

Lauren Freeman
University of Louisville
Andreas Elpidorou
University of Louisville
Martin Heidegger is often credited as having offered one of the most thorough phenomenological investigations of the nature of boredom. In his 1929–1930 lecture course, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, he goes to great lengths to distinguish between three different types of boredom and to explicate their respective characters. Within the context of his discussion of one of these types of boredom, profound boredom [tiefe Langweile], Heidegger opposes much of the philosophical and literary tradition on boredom insofar as he articulates how the experience of boredom can be existentially beneficial to us. In this chapter, we undertake a study of the nature of profound boredom with the aim of investigating its place within contemporary psychological and philosophical research on boredom. Although boredom used to be a neglected emotional experience, it is no more. Boredom’s causal antecedents, effects, experiential profile, and neurophysiological correlates have become topics of active study; as a consequence, a proliferation of claims and findings about boredom has ensued. Such a situation provides an opportunity to scrutinize Heidegger’s claims and to try to understand them both on their own terms and in light of our contemporary understanding of boredom.
Keywords boredom  mood  emotion  psychology  phenomenology  Heidegger
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