Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Amy Kind and Angela Mendelovici

Amy Kind and Angela Mendelovici on representationalism about moods.

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Note: This is the first in a series of collaborations between Philosophy TV and Routledge.

Representationalism is the view that the phenomenal character of any given mental state (what it is like to be in that state) is (or is reducible to) the intentionality of that state (the way that the state represents or is about something else). Mendelovici is a representationalist; Kind opposes representationalism. In this conversation, Kind and Mendelovici debate Mendelovici’s novel attempt at a solution to an important problem for representationalism: the problem of undirected moods.

Moods cause a problem for representationalism because certain moods do not seem to be about anything at all. For example, free-floating anxiety seems entirely undirected (unlike, say, fear in the presence of a wolf, which is about the wolf).

After introducing their topic (1:42), Kind and Mendelovici lay out the problem of undirected moods (10:03). Then (20:27) they consider some of the ways that representationalists have previously tried to handle this problem. Next (32:04), they discuss Mendolivici’s view, according to which undirected moods represent unbound properties, i.e., properties that do not attach to any object. They conclude (50:55) by discussing some of the reasons why someone would want to be a representationalist in the first place.

Related works

Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind (2013)

by Kind:
“The Case Against Representationalism About Moods” in Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind (2013)
“Restrictions on Representationalism” (2007)
“What’s So Transparent about Transparency?” (2003)

by Mendelovici:
“Intentionalism about moods” (forthcoming)
“Pure Intentionalism About Moods and Emotions” in Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind (2013)
with David Bourget: “Tracking Representationalism” (forthcoming)
“Reliable misrepresentation and tracking theories of mental representation” (2013)