I am a Regular Faculty Member in the Department of Philosophy at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Canada, where I teach philosophy of technology (click here for a 12-week YouTube course), logic, and other philosophical subjects, including occasional ethics courses for Policy Studies and School of Business programs.
Before coming to KPU, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trent University. I have a PhD in Philosophy from York University (2014), a PhD in Semiotics from the University of Quebec in Montreal (2008)—Oxford tasked me with writing their entry on that for their Bibliographies in Philosophy series—and I did my Post-Doc at the University of Helsinki (2014–2015).
With two PhDs, I am of mixed academic heritage, being a descendant of Quine, Rorty, (David) Lewis, Brandom, and McDowell on the “analytic” side, and Husserl, Heidegger, and Gadamer on the “continental” side (see my academic family tree). To varying degrees, I have studied—and written on—all these figures (and many more).
I am the author of Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs (Springer 2018) and Myth, Meaning, and Antifragile Individualism (Imprint Academic 2020). You can find my published writings and get updated instantly about new pieces on the following websites:
I am currently working on a new book titled Endangered Experiences: Skipping Newfangled Technologies and Sticking to Real Life. It will look at the loss of meaning that ensues when we rely too much on technology and lose sight of our ordinary surroundings and activities. We are sleepwalking uncritically into a future that we will come to regret. You can register below to receive monthly excerpts of the manuscript as it progresses:
As research for that book, I am collecting anecdotes from readers. In your lifetime, have you seen a valuable experience become rarer or even disappear as a result of some invention? If so, share your story in the comments section at the very bottom of this page.
In addition to Philosophy of Technology, I work in Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Philosophy of Signs (or Semiotics, to use the term coined by John Locke), Ethics, Formal and Informal Logic, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Phenomenology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, and Metaphilosophy. I also maintain a career-long interest in heterodoxy and thinkers who, by choice, temperament, or necessity, operate(d) outside or at the margins of academic philosophy.
My appreciation of the need for dissent and error comes mainly from the heterodox thinker Charles S. Peirce, on whom I have written quite a bit. My first book, Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs, which just came out in soft-cover, applies some of the ideas of Peirce to debates in philosophy of mind. Most philosophers know Peirce as the founder of American pragmatism, but few know that he also coined the term “qualia,” which is meant to capture the intrinsic feel of an experience. Since pragmatic verification and qualia are often seen as conflicting commitments, I try to understand how Peirce could (or thought he could) have it both ways.
“Marc Champagne’s new book Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs is a triumph. The book is eminently well informed, well reasoned, well written, and well worth reading.” (Jamin Pelkey, American Journal of Semiotics)
“This is a very suggestive book. It is moreover a clearly and engagingly written text, and (for the most part) a carefully and responsibly argued one.” (Vincent M. Colapietro, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)
At the biannual Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, my work was the object of a symposium titled “Against Mindless Pragmatism.” That slogan summarizes well my work.
Humans need a large-scale sense of purpose. As current political trends and events attest, when a society tries to chase away the religious, it comes back galloping (often in even less healthy forms). That need for meaning will not go away. So, as I explain in my second book, Myth, Meaning, and Antifragile Individualism, achieving a tenable secular alternative “requires (among other things) a viable theory of values, a viable theory of consciousness, a viable theory of meaning, and a viable theory of aesthetic experience and ritual” (2020, p. 181; emphasis added).
“Philosopher Marc Champagne’s analytic skills are impressively on display as he presents and variously dissects, agrees with, and critiques Jordan Peterson’s hugely ambitious project to integrate modern science with the essential themes of Western religious and humanist traditions.” (Stephen Hicks, Rockford University)
“Myth, Meaning, and Antifragile Individualism acts as a helpful aid […] partly because Champagne makes a valiant effort to understand Peterson and partly because of its breadth and clarity.” (Sandra Woien, Arizona State University)
I believe it is possible to make a spiritually satisfying outlook without any superstition and dogma. However, the success of such a stance is measured by living a better life, not by gaining a wider adoption. Hence, my long-term inquiries are exploring how it is possible to be correct, alone, in a sea of incorrectness.
Although I conduct my philosophical inquiries solely in English, I am also fluent in French and Joual (my native tongue). I was born in a working-class family near Montreal. I now reside on the outskirts of Vancouver, with my Chinese partner and our five beautiful children, living a low-tech lifestyle of hearty home-cooked meals, logical puzzles and board games at the kitchen table, and nightly Québecois story telling.
Philosophical tools can be used to answer narrow technical questions. I often do this. But, at its best, philosophy is taking the big thoughts you will think near your death and thinking them now, while you can act and make a difference. Its survival value is that it gives survival value (C. S. Lewis). Philosophical thinking—if one has the courage to act on its recommendations—is thus the ultimate regret-prevention strategy, capable of nipping in the bud tyrannical trends as well as wasted lives. I bring that seize-the-day outlook to every piece I write and every class I teach, so I hope you will enjoy!