Reader-submitted photos

My first nonfiction book, The World Behind the World: Consciousness, Free Will, and the Limits of Science, is now out. It’s a lot of things for a slim volume, like:

  • An update to Julian Jaynes’ cult classic The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

  • A “big history” account of how literature refined its ability to understand minds at the same time that science was refining its ability to understand the physical world.

  • Why Freud was the best thing to ever happen to television.

  • A tour of the neuroscience of consciousness, and where modern theories like Integrated Information Theory (which I worked on in graduate school) fail.

  • How science is fundamentally incomplete because a scientific theory of consciousness is a Gödel sentence written in the language of empiricism.

  • An argument for why you have free will based on my work on the mathematics of causal emergence.

“With the ear of a poet and the eye of a neuroscientist, Hoel pioneers a new marriage between the enchantments of literature and the challenges of modern brain science.” - David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Stanford and bestselling author of Sum and Livewired