Dr. Michael Barkasi
B.A., Kutztown University
Ph.D., Rice University
Office: Old Main A303
Office Hours: Mon./Wed./Fri. 11-12 p.m. and Tue. & Thu 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dr. Barkasi completed his B.A. in philosophy at Kutztown before moving on to complete his Ph.D. at Rice University. Before returning to Kutztown he taught a diverse range of students in courses at both Rice and the community colleges in the Houston area.
Barkasi's research uses results from cognitive psychology and neuroscience to answer philosophical questions on the nature of perception. For example, his dissertation asked whether neural activity in the brain fully determines our conscious perceptual experiences, or if instead the objects out in the world which we perceive also constitutively affect them. For example, on the latter view if you saw two identical objects you'd have two different conscious perceptual experiences, even if the neural response to them were identical. Although that kind of view might at first seem obviously wrong, Barkasi uses empirical work on visual attention to argue that it's required to explain how perception allows us to refer to and think about the world. His current project expands his dissertation research into a broader examination of the objectivity of perception. He will argue that although perception is objective in the sense that we directly perceive what's out in the world, it's subjective in the sense that our experiences are warped or distorted to fit our desires, beliefs, and past experiences.
Barkasi has presented his work on perception at a large international conference on perception in Latvia (2013), the American Philosophical Association's annual Pacific division meeting (2014), and most recently at a perception workshop at Rice University (2016).
In addition to his work on perception, Barkasi has done work in philosophy of language on the semantics and pragmatics of modal verbs such as "might" or "may". He also has a substantial background in formal logic as well.