Meet David

Philosophy begins in wonder, according to both Socrates and Aristotle. I was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and I still wonder at the magical forests, mountains, and waterways of the Pacific Northwest. The wider world inspires wonder as well and I have an insatiable love of travel. I made a Christmas morning photo of the temples of Bagan in Myanmar the signature image of David Egan Philosophy. That image encapsulates for me the spirit of wonder, wisdom, and adventure that I aspire to bring to my online courses.

I have degrees in Philosophy from the University of Oxford, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University and have taught philosophy and the humanities at Oxford, the University of Chicago, and other institutions in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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Academic Work

I’m interested in how we find and make meaning in our lives, and especially in those moments where our self-image gets punctured in revealing ways. That’s led me to think about existential anxiety, human animality, and play, among other things. I draw inspiration from a wide range of philosophers, and I have a particular interest in Wittgenstein and Heidegger.

The Pursuit of an Authentic Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and the Everyday (Oxford University Press, 2019) (book abstract) (book introduction) (Review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

Wittgenstein and Heidegger, co-edited with Stephen Reynolds and Aaron James Wendland (Routledge 2013)


View my academic CV in US Letter (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 format.


Neoteny, Play, and the Anthropological Difference. In Deonna, Tappolet, and Teroni (eds.), A Tribute to Ronald de Sousa. (2022)

Rule Following, Anxiety, and Authenticity. Mind 130:518, 567–93 (2021)

Wittgenstein’s Confessions: Reading Philosophical Investigations with St. Augustine. The Heythrop Journal 62, 25–38 (2021)

Rehabilitating Austin, Reassessing Grice: The Case of Cancellability. Archiv für die Geschichte der Philosophie 100:4, 469–90 (2018)

Literature and Thought Experiments. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74:2, 139–50 (2016)

The Authenticity of the Ordinary. In Egan, Reynolds, and Wendland (eds.), Wittgenstein and Heidegger, 66–81 (2013)

Playing Well: Wittgenstein’s Language-Games and the Ethics of Discourse. In Ryall, Russell, and MacLean (eds.), The Philosophy of Play, 54-63 (2013)

Das Man and Distantiality in Being and Time. Inquiry 55:3, 289–306 (2012)

Pictures in Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy. Philosophical Investigations 34:1, 55–76 (2011)

University Teaching

Deep Springs College (2023): Humans and Other Animals • Orality and Literacy

Outer Coast (2020–21): Games, Play, and Philosophy • Philosophy as a Way of Life • Humans and Other Animals

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (2021): Critical Thinking

Hunter College (CUNY) (2017–19): Introduction to Philosophy • Existentialism • Aesthetics • Games, Play, and Philosophy • Philosophy, Literature, and Life • 20th Century Philosophy • Wittgenstein • Heidegger • Humans and Other Animals

University of Chicago (2013–17): Human Being and Citizen • The Philosophy of Games and Play

Oxford University (2007–11 and 2012–13): General Philosophy • Early Modern Philosophy • Post-Kantian Philosophy • Later Wittgenstein • Aesthetics • Frege, Russell, Early Wittgenstein • Wittgenstein and Heidegger

McMaster University (2012): Technology & Society II

Public-Facing Work

In addition to my academic work, I have written a number of articles on philosophical topics for a general audience. This page also tracks interviews, and work I've done as a playwright, a journalist, and a travel writer.


Visit my YouTube channel

The Multi-Species Community. Presentation to the World Community for Christian Meditation (2023)

Interview with Chris Jeffries. The Homeless Romantic YouTube channel. (2023)

Aristotle on the Good Life. Presentation for the CFA Society Vancouver (2002)

Was Wittgenstein an Existentialist? Presentation to the British Wittgenstein Society (2022)

Interview with Douglas Oh and Santosh Kumar. Breaking the Spell YouTube channel (2022)

Should We Fear Death? Lecture series with Academia Premium (2021)

Interview with Ryan Bissett. Chasing Reality podcast (2020)

Other Journalism

An Ode to Jury Duty: How the Courtroom Can Summon a Kinder Body Politic. The Globe and Mail (2022)

Where the Light Is Better. The Point (2021)

Cousin Starfish. The Hedgehog Review (2020)

Forest for Trees. The Point quarantine journal (2020)

All Made Up. The Point (2016)

An Olympic Transformation. The Oxford Cherwell (2010)

In 2012, I wrote a series of articles for the History Page on the now-defunct iPad news app, The Daily. The published articles have now disappeared into the mists of cyberspace, but I’ve preserved penultimate drafts of the following pieces:

“Nothing Secedes Like Excess”: a brief history of Talossa, an independent state founded in a Milwaukee teenager’s bedroom.

“Before Pong Came Along”: on the world’s first video game.

“Gael Storm”: on the abortive Fenian raid that was meant to capture Canada and ransom it back to the British in exchange for Irish independence.

“Chop Shop”: on the “disassembly line” that streamlined pig processing in the nineteenth-century and how it revolutionized the automobile industry.

“When Irish Guns Are Firin’”: The story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a group of disaffected Irish-American soldiers who defected to the Mexican side of the Mexican-American War.

“Behind the Mask”: How Marvel Comics gave birth to the Silver Age of superheroes.

“Licensing Pooh”: How Winnie-the-Pooh gave birth to the modern licensing industry.


I have a lifelong love of the theatre, and have been writing seriously for the stage for a decade and a half. Two of my plays have been produced professionally. The first, The Fly-Bottle, deals with Wittgenstein’s notorious encounter with Karl Popper, and was nominated for the American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2003. The second, Tom’s a-cold, deals with Sir John Franklin’s disastrous expedition to the Arctic in the mid-nineteenth century. It won Canada’s Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2009.

In addition, I’ve written a number of other short and full-length plays, adaptations, and translations. I have won a number of other awards for this work, including the New Play Award from the Toronto Fringe Festival for a play called Love Songs From Unlikely Places, and the New Play Award from the Oxford Playhouse for a short play called Pork, which I am expanding into a trilogy of shorts, entitled Three Little Pigs. My translation of Chekhov’s The Seagull has been produced professionally in Toronto.

Travel Blogs

I love to travel, and I enjoy writing about my travels. I’ve written three lengthy blogs about three separate trips I’ve taken in recent years: to EthiopiaIran, and Myanmar.

Are you interested in reading more of David's work?

Visit the blog for regularly updated postings about philosophy and related topics.

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