Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 127–132 | Cite as

Francisco Varela: A new idea of perception and life

  • Renaud Barbaras


Connections among Varela's theory of enactive cognition , his evolutionary theory of natural drift, and his concept of autopoiesis are made clear. Two questions are posed in relation to Varela's conception of perception, and the tension that exists in his thought between the formal level of organization and the Jonasian notion of the organism.


Artificial Intelligence Evolutionary Theory Formal Level Natural Drift Enactive Cognition 
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  1. Jonas, H. 1966. The Phenomenon of Life. Towards a Philosophical Biology. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Varela, F. J. 1979. Principles of Biological Autonomy. New York: Elsevier/North-Holland.Google Scholar
  3. Varela, F. 1989. Autonomie et connaissance. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  4. Varela, F. 1993. L'inscription corporelle de l'esprit. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  5. Weber, A. and Varela, F. 2002. Life after Kant: Natural purposes and the autopoietic foundations of biological individuality. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1: 97-125 (this issue).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renaud Barbaras
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Paris-1ParisFrance

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