What is The Encyclopaedia Autopoietica ?
The Encyclopaedia Autopoietica was compiled to provide an annotated compendium of the terminology developed and employed by Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela in devising their theories on the biology of cognition, the phenomenology of the living, and enactive cognitive science. Strictly speaking, the Encyclopaedia is therefore more of a dictionary than an encyclopaedia per se.
Because most of the seminal literature exists in the form of obscure papers or hard-to-find books, it was felt necessary to attempt to bring together such basic reference material in one resource which could be made globally accessible via the Internet through the World Wide Web nexus known as The Observer Web (Randall Whitaker / Umeå Universitet).
The goal of this herculean project was to generate a centralized reference work to aid students, researchers, and other interested parties in accessing and exploring this significant body of work.
The Encyclopaedia is designed to supplement and integrate the documentation base for Maturana and Varela's work. It is not designed to be a standalone textbook, tutorial or guide book. Phrased another way, the Encyclopaedia is designed to be employed as reinforcement for other readings and explorations of this work (or for idle browsing, if you share my perverse passion for reading the Dictionary... -- Ed.).
The Encyclopaedia was begun in 1996, and its construction has been ongoing. There is no claim that the Encyclopaedia is complete at the date of this edition's issuance. Owing to repeated requests from the global autopoiesis community, I had (during 1997) begun distributing ASCII text versions of this manuscript on a "need" basis. As the number of such requests (and the number of inquiries about the release of the Encyclopaedia's first edition) increased, it seemed that the time had arrived to make an initial version available on the Web.
http://www.informatik.umu.se/~rwhit/EAIntro.html [page consultée le 2000-09-18]