Champagne’s Unified Theory of Consciousness

Warm review by Jamin Pelkey in The American Journal of Semiotics of Marc’s Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs: How Peircean Semiotics Combines Phenomenal Qualia and Practical Effects. On a different note, this very versatile thinker has the first critical but fair explication of Jordan Peterson available.

  • 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. It may also still be well ahead of its time, but my guess is that it will eventually prove to be a watershed. The watershed in question concerns many important distinc- tions—none more important than “Qualia”: the intrinsic feel of a given experience.
  • In the process we find excellent overviews of semiotics (2018: 14–27) and chart the inception and demise of key terms borrowed from Peirce by Anglo-American philosophers. In the process we also discover that Champagne is remarkably conversant with contemporary cognitive science and analytic philosophy (both historical and contemporary). And in spite of his equally strong grasp of Peircean pragmatism and Peircean semiotic, we also find a thinker who is not sus- ceptible to narrow-minded or preachy polemics (see, e.g., 2018: 59–60).
  • Cognitive science and philosophy of mind now have a viable account of phenomenal consciousness qua “Qualia” that is not only licensed by reason but also fully integrated and reconciled with oppositional accounts of access consciousness. As a result, the argument and evidence in Champagne’s book, once acknowledged, are sure to lead philosophy of mind and cognitive science in a fresh, new direction.