I’m an academic philosopher who works on the nature of perception. I’m interested in perceptual experience. Often it’s just referred to as consciousness. When you look around, there’s something it’s like, from your inner point of view, for you to perceive what’s out there. A camera, in contrast, is dark on the inside as it takes pictures. It lacks perceptual experience. The focus of my work is on how neural activity in the brain relates to perceptual experience. Specifically, I’m interested in two questions: Is what we experience simply what’s represented by the brain? And, can sensory interaction with the world itself directly affect experience? To answer these questions I draw on work from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and philosophy.

For more about my academic work, check out my curriculum vitae, or visit me on academia.edu, philpeople, or linkedin.


Recent Work:


(1) June 7-8, 2019: Experiencing What’s Not There. I ran a workshop with Mohan Matthen at the University of Toronto on recent philosophical and scientific work on hallucinations, dreams, imagination, and virtual reality. The workshop brought together nine top experts, both philosophers and scientists, to discuss their latest work. The program with abstracts can be found here.

(2) February 23-24, 2019: Dreams, Hallucinations and Imagination. I presented my paper “What should the externalist say is missing from dream experience?” at this workshop by the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow.

(3) February 20-23, 2019: APA Central. I presented my paper “The role of visual representations in seeing” at the American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting in Denver.


About Me


Currently I’m a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Network for Sensory Research in the Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto Mississauga. In that position I work with Mohan Matthen. I completed my Ph.D. in philosophy at Rice University in 2015, working under Casey O’Callaghan. I grew up in a small town in southeast Pennsylvania, about an hour northwest of Philadelphia, before moving to Houston for my Ph.D. I currently live in Mississauga, Ontario.

I can be reached at michael.barkasi [at] utoronto.ca.

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