The Intrinsic Perspective is about consilience: breaking down the disciplinary barriers between science, history, literature, and cultural commentary. It started in 2021 and has received a Substack featured publication badge every year since.

Why become a paying subscriber? If you like writing, if you enjoy words themselves, that’s a reason. If you like science, or literature, or the combination of the two, that’s another. You also might want to support a class of thinkers outside of academia. Or you might want to join a community that shares your values of intellectual investigation, interdisciplinary thought, and civil conversation about complex topics.

In addition to the free content, paid subscribers uniquely receive:

  1. 50% more content via paid-only posts.

  2. A regular round-up of interesting links and commentary.

  3. The Intrinsic Podcast.

  4. Perks like open threads, ask-me-anythings, an advice column, calls to submit links, etc.

  5. Undying gratitude for making all this possible.

Who is Erik Hoel?

An essayist. A writer who grew up in his mother’s independent bookstore. Before getting on Substack, he wrote a debut novel, The Revelations, was a New York City Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and published essays in publications like The Atlantic.

Erik also received his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a Forbes 30 Under 30 in science, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced study in Princeton, and is known for several scientific hypotheses, like causal emergence and the Overfitted Brain Hypothesis. Erik recently left his professorship at Tufts University to write on Substack full-time. He is 35 and lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

What’s all this unique art?

The Intrinsic Perspective has a resident artist, illustrator Alexander Naughton, who reads early drafts of essays and reacts to them artistically. His own Substack can be found here. Alexander Naughton is open for commissions for other projects, and does everything from magazine covers to album art.

Portrait of the author, by Alexander Naughton


Comments are encouraged. When commenting, try to maintain a civilized discussion—imagine this is a salon, or intellectually diverse dinner party, and you are trying to not make enemies of half the people around you. Keep in mind that people from across the political spectrum read The Intrinsic Perspective. Avoid politics unless the post bears directly on political subjects. Continued violations of this, or insults or provocations or open hostility, or even just comments judged to be attempts to cause unnecessary drama, will all lead to a ban. Do not use AI to write comments here. It will lead to an immediate ban. Low-effort comments may be removed without warning to improve discourse. If you feel a ban is in error or unfair, please DM Erik on Twitter.


Are available in some cases, like if you are a student with an email associated with an educational institution (link here). There are also group discounts via the “group” tab of the regular sign up.

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Bridging the two cultures of science and the humanities


Writer and scientist