K. Mitch Hodge, M.A., Ph.D.
I am (primarily) a philosopher of mind who recently graduated from the Institute of Cognition and Culture (ICC) at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Humanities at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas. My current research interests are intuitive folk beliefs and imaginative representations of the afterlife. This research has led me into investigations of folk psychology, cognitive science of religion, imagination, metaphor and fiction. My general thesis regarding folk psychological representations of the afterlife (called "The Folk Psychology of Souls" by Jesse Bering in 2006) is that they are dependent upon the same belief and representational systems as are in play in our everyday social reasoning concerning absent third parties—that is, we think about and imagine deceased individuals in much the same way that we think about and imagine living people who are presently absent from our perceptual field.
Prior to undertaking afterlife research, I explored mythology and its relationship to the human mind. My inquiry sought to elucidate both how the human mind created mythology and why the human mind found the elements of mythology so attractive. This study began my interest in psychology and the cognitive science of religion, as well as sparked my interest in structural anthropology, mental models, analogy and metaphor. In this study I argued that if Levi-Strauss' structural analysis of myth was updated and complemented by the present day cognitive science of mental models and analogy that a much clearer picture of the role mythology has played in human's evolutionary cognitive development could be attained. Moreover, I argued in that by merging the disciplines in such a manner finally answered the objection that structural analysis was unverifiable.
My original interest, when I first began my academic career was ancient philosophy; specifically ancient Greek philosophy. I am intrigued by the emergence of philosophy and the close relationship it shared in the beginning (and to some extent, still today) with mythology.