Epilogue: The Uncut Self

  • Dorion Sagan
  • Lynn Margulis
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 129)


Foucault [1] full circle, not based on the rectilinear frame of reference of a painting, mirror, house, or book, and with neither “inside” nor “outside” but according to the single surface of a Moebius strip. This is not the classical Cartesian model of self, with a vital ensouled res cogitans surrounded by that predictable world of Newtonian mechanisms of the res extensa; it is closer to Maturana and Varela’s conception of autopoiesis, a completely self-making, self-referring, tautologically delimited entity at the various levels of cell, organism, and cognition [2]. It would be premature to accuse us therefore of a debilitating biomysticism, of pandering to deconstructive fashion, or, indeed, of fomenting an academic “lunacy” or “criminality” that merits ostracism from scientific society, smoothly sealed by peer review and by the standards of what Fleck calls a “thought collective” [3]. Nor would it be timely to label and dismiss us as antirational or solipsist.


Genomic System Bacterial Ancestor Homeric Epic Genomic Entity Mundane Reason 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Foucault, M., 1977. What is an author? In Language, Counter-Memory and Practise: Selected Essays and Interviews. Bouchard, D.F, ed. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. p. 124.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Maturana, H.R., and Varela, F.J., 1973. Autopoiesis: The organization of the living. In Autopoiesis and Cognition. Maturana, H.R., and Varela, F.J., eds., 1980. D. Reidel, Boston.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fleck, L., 1979. Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Habermas, J., 1987. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Translated by Frederick Lawrence. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., p. 137.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Leenhardt, M., 1979. Do Kamo (translated by Gluati, B.M.). University of Chicago, Chicago, p. 22.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Snell, B., 1960. The Discovery of the Mind (translated by T.C. Rosenmeyer). Harper Torchbooks, New York, p. 8.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elias, N., 1978. The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners (translated by E. Jephcott). Urizen Books, New York, pp. 252–253.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lacan, J., 1977. The mirror stage as formative in the function of the I. In Écrites: A Selection (translated by A. Sheridan). New York, W.W. Norton, pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sagan, D., 1990. What Narcissus saw: The Oceanic “I”/“eye”. In Speculations: The Reality Club 1. Brockman, J., ed. Prentice Hall Press, NY pp. 245–266.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sagan, D., 1990. Biospheres: Metamorphosis of Planet Earth. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Huxley, J., 1912. The Individual in the Animal Kingdom. G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York, p. 125.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dawkins, R., 1982. The Extended Phenotype: The Gene as the Unit of Expression. Oxford, W.H. Freeman and Co.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dobell, C., 1913. Observations on the life-history of Cienkowski’s “Arachnula.” Arch. Protistenkund. 31: 317–353.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wheery, W.B., 1913. Studies on the biology of an amoeba of the limax group. Vahlkampfia sp. No. I. Arch. Protistenkund. 31: 77–94.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Margulis, L., Enzien, M., and H.I. McKhann, 1990. Revival of Dobell’s “chromidia” hypothesis: Chromatin bodies in the amoebomastigote Paratetramitus jugosus. Biol. Bull. 178: 300–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Guerrero, R., Pedrós-Alió, C., Esteve, I., Mas, J., Chase, D., and L. Margulis., 1987. Predatory prokaryotes: Predation and primary consumption evolved in bactera. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 83: 2138–2142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pert, C., and Griffiths-Marriott, N., 1988. Bodymind. Woman of Power 11: 22–25.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Margulis, L., 1991. Symbiosis in evolution: Origins of cell motility. In Evolution of Life: Fossils, Molecules and Culture, Osawa, S. and T. Honjo, eds. Springer-Verlag Tokyo, pp. 305–324.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Vetter, R., 1991. Symbiosis and the evolution of novel trophic strategies: Thiotrophic organisms at hydrothermal vents. In Symbiosis as a Source of Evolutionary Innovation: Speciation and Morphogenesis, Margulis, L., and R. Fester, eds. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 219–245.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Margulis, L., 1981. Symbiosis in Cell Evolution. W.H. Freeman & Co., San Francisco.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Margulis, L., and D. Sagan, 1986, Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Evolution From Our Bacterial Ancestors. Summit Books, New York, and Touchstone, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorion Sagan
    • 1
  • Lynn Margulis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations