K. Mitch Hodge Amarillo College, Masaryk University
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About me
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.
My works
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  1. K. Mitch Hodge (2011). On Imagining the Afterlife. Journal of Cognition and Culture 11 (3-4):367-389.
    The author argues for three interconnected theses which provide a cognitive account for why humans intuitively believe that others survive death. The first thesis, from which the second and third theses follow, is that the acceptance of afterlife beliefs is predisposed by a specific, and already well-documented, imaginative process - the offline social reasoning process. The second thesis is that afterlife beliefs are social in nature. The third thesis is that the living imagine the deceased as socially embodied in such (...)
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  2. K. Mitch Hodge (2011). Why Immortality Alone Will Not Get Me to the Afterlife. Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):395-410.
    Recent research in the cognitive science of religion suggests that humans intuitively believe that others survive death. In response to this finding, three cognitive theories have been offered to explain this: the simulation constraint theory (Bering, 2002); the imaginative obstacle theory (Nichols, 2007); and terror management theory (Pyszczynski, Rothschild, & Abdollahi, 2008). First, I provide a critical analysis of each of these theories. Second, I argue that these theories, while perhaps explaining why one would believe in his own personal immortality, (...)
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  3. K. Mitch Hodge (2011). Why Immortality Alone Will Not Get Me to the Afterlife. Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):395 - 410.
    Recent research in the cognitive science of religion suggests that humans intuitively believe that others survive death. In response to this finding, three cognitive theories have been offered to explain this: the simulation constraint theory (Bering, 2002); the imaginative obstacle theory (Nichols, 2007); and terror management theory (Pyszczynski, Rothschild, & Abdollahi, 2008). First, I provide a critical analysis of each of these theories. Second, I argue that these theories, while perhaps explaining why one would believe in his own personal immortality, (...)
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  4. K. Mitch Hodge (2010). Cognitive Foundations of Aftelife Beliefs. Dissertation, Queen's University Belfasst
    Recent research (Bering 2002, 2006) into what has become known as “the folk psychology of souls” demonstrates that humans intuitively believe that others survive death. Additional research (Harris & Gimenéz, 2005; Astuti & Harris, 2008) has demonstrated that this belief is highly context sensitive. In this thesis, the author presents this research and provides a critical analysis of the findings based on philosophical and empirical concerns. The author also presents and critically analyses several theories that have been proposed to explain (...)
     
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  5. K. Mitch Hodge (2008). Descartes Mistake: How Afterlife Beliefs Challenge the Assumption That Humans Are Intuitive Cartesian Dualists. Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (3-4):387-415.
    This article presents arguments and evidence that run counter to the widespread assumption among scholars that humans are intuitive Cartesian substance dualists. With regard to afterlife beliefs, the hypothesis of Cartesian substance dualism as the intuitive folk position fails to have the explanatory power with which its proponents endow it. It is argued that the embedded corollary assumptions of the intuitive Cartesian substance dualist position (that the mind and body are different substances, that the mind and soul are intensionally identical, (...)
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  6. K. Mitch Hodge (2006). What Myths Reveal About How Humans Think: A Cognitive Approach to Myth. Dissertation, University of Texas Arlington
    This thesis has two main goals: (1) to argue that myths are natural products of human cognition; and (2) that structuralism, as introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss, provides an over-arching theory of myth when supplemented and supported by current research in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, and cognitive anthropology. With regard to (1), we argue that myths are naturally produced by the human mind through individuals’ interaction with their natural and social environments. This interaction is constrained by both the type of (...)
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  7. Mitch Hodge (2002). Philosophy@The.Internet. The Philosophers' Magazine 16 (20):28-28.
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  8. Mitch Hodge (2000). Mitch's Diary. The Philosophers' Magazine 12:10-10.
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  9. Mitch Hodge (2000). Opinion. The Philosophers' Magazine 12:8-8.
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