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Autopoiesis and Cognition

The Realization of the Living

  • Authors
  • Humberto R. Maturana
  • Francisco J. Varela

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 42)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxx
  2. Biology of Cognition (1970)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-3
    2. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 5-6
    3. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 7-7
    4. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 8-14
    5. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 15-40
    6. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 41-47
    7. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 48-56
    8. Back Matter
      Pages 57-58
  3. Autopoiesis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-61
    2. Stafford Beer
      Pages 63-72
    3. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 73-76
    4. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 77-84
    5. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 85-87
    6. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 88-95
    7. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 96-111
    8. Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela
      Pages 112-123
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 124-145

About this book

Introduction

This is a bold, brilliant, provocative and puzzling work. It demands a radical shift in standpoint, an almost paradoxical posture in which living systems are described in terms of what lies outside the domain of descriptions. Professor Humberto Maturana, with his colleague Francisco Varela, have undertaken the construction of a systematic theoretical biology which attempts to define living systems not as they are objects of observation and description, nor even as in­ teracting systems, but as self-contained unities whose only reference is to them­ selves. Thus, the standpoint of description of such unities from the 'outside', i. e. , by an observer, already seems to violate the fundamental requirement which Maturana and Varela posit for the characterization of such system- namely, that they are autonomous, self-referring and self-constructing closed systems - in short, autopoietic systems in their terms. Yet, on the basis of such a conceptual method, and such a theory of living systems, Maturana goes on to define cognition as a biological phenomenon; as, in effect, the very nature of all living systems. And on this basis, to generate the very domains of interac­ tion among such systems which constitute language, description and thinking.

Keywords

architecture autonomy cognition evolution individual individuality living memory organ organization reproduction

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-8947-4
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1980
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-1016-1
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-8947-4
  • Series Print ISSN 0068-0346
  • Buy this book on publisher's site