Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living by H.R. MaturanaAutopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living by H.R. Maturana

Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living

byH.R. Maturana, F.J. Varela

Paperback | August 31, 1991

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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.
Title:Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the LivingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:146 pagesPublished:August 31, 1991Publisher:Springer-Verlag/Sci-Tech/Trade

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:9027710163

ISBN - 13:9789027710161

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Table of Contents

Editorial PrefaceGeneral Table Of Contents Foreword Introduction (by Professor Maturana) Biology Of Cognition Dedication Table of ContentsI. Introduction II. The Problem III. Cognitive Function in General A. The Observer B. The Living System C. Evolution D. The Cognitive Process IV. Cognitive Function in Particular A. Nerve Cells B. Architecture C. Function D. Representation E. Description F. Thinking G. Natural Language H. Memory and Learning I. The Observer V. Problems in the Neurophysiology of Cognition VI. Conclusions VII. Post Scriptum Autopoiesis: The Organization Of The Living Preface (by Sir Stafford Beer) Introduction I. On Machines, living and Otherwise 1. Machines 2. Living Machines II. Dispensability of Teleonomy 1. Purposelessness 2. Individuality III. Embodiments of Autopoiesis 1. Descriptive and Causal Notions 2. Molecular Embodiments 3. Origin IV. Diversity of Autopoiesis 1. Subordination to the Condition of Unity 2. Plasticity of Ontogeny 3. Reproduction, a Complication of the Unity 4. Evolution, a Historical Network 5. Second and Third Order Autopoietic Systems V. Presence of Autopoiesis 1. Biological Implications 2. Epistemological Implications 3. Cognitive Implications Appendix: The Nervous System Glossary Bibliography Index Of Names