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Diversity of Autopoiesis

  • Humberto R. Maturana
  • Francisco J. Varela
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 42)

Abstract

Living systems embody the living organization. Living systems are autopoietic systems in the physical space. The diversity of living systems is apparent; it is also apparent that this diversity depends on reproduction and evolution. Yet, reproduction and evolution do not enter into the characterization of the living organization, and living systems are defined as unities by their autopoiesis. This is significant because it makes the phenomenology of living systems dependent on their being autopoietic unities. In fact, reproduction requires the existence of a unity to be reproduced, and it is necessarily secondary to the establishment of such a unity; evolution requires reproduction and the possibility of change, through reproduction of that which evolves, and it is necessarily secondary to the establishment of reproduction. It follows that the proper evaluation of the phenomenology of living systems, including reproduction and evolution, requires their proper evaluation as autopoietic unities.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Humberto R. Maturana
  • Francisco J. Varela

There are no affiliations available

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