Michael Barkasi

philosopher and cognitive scientist


I’m an academic philosopher who works on perception. My research focuses on our perceptual experience of the world (phenomenal consciousness) and how it relates to the neural activity in our heads. I integrate work from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and philosophy to investigate the nature of our experience, how it reveals the world to us, and its relation to sensory neural activity. Lately I’ve been interested in applied questions as well, like how to measure the feeling of presence in virtue reality environments and how to improve bodily awareness in athletes.

I currently live in Toronto, and for the fall 2020 semester I’ll be teaching at York University. I recently finished a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Network for Sensory Research in the Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto. In that position I worked with Mohan Matthen. I completed my Ph.D. in philosophy at Rice University in 2015, working under Casey O’Callaghan. Although I grew up in a small town in southeast Pennsylvania, about an hour northwest of Philadelphia, I think of Houston (where I spent my twenties doing my PhD) as my adopted hometown.

I’ve been a serious amateur athlete much of my life, competing in both powerlifting and track cycling. Although I’m not currently active in cycling, in the past I’ve raced at velodromes in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. I worked for a few months at a local bike shop and a bit longer as a youth and community cycling coach.

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