2000-08-07 / 09-04
photo Revista Ercilla
What I do is to spell out the nature of the living system as a molecular autopoietic system when I indicate: that a living system is a molecular autopoietic system, and that as such it is a closed network of molecular productions in which, a) the molecules produced are of the same kinds of the molecules that produced them, b) recursively constitute with their interactions the same network of productions that produce them, and c) specify with their operation the extension of the network as a whole in the molecular space. At the same time I am explicit in claiming that as molecular systems living system are necessarily open to the flow of matter and energy, out as autopoietic systems they are closed in their dynamics of states. I am also explicit in claiming that as living systems are discrete entities, they exist as such only as long as their condition of autopoietic molecular singularities is conserved. I have also claimed that the history of living systems is the history of the reproductive conservation of molecular autopoietic systems in a continuous opennes for change in the manner that it is realized. I have also said that the origin of living systems occurs as a case of spontaneous organization.
But ... What is the Biology of Cognition? In the scientific community and in the people in general, the Biology of Cognition is identified with Humberto Maturana. Therefore, I made the following question directly to him.
Alfredo Ruiz: Humberto, what is the Biology of Cognition?
Humberto Maturana: "The Biology of Cognition is an explanatory proposition that attemps to show how human cognitive processes arise from the operation of human beings as living systems. As much, The Biology of Cognition entails reflexions oriented to understand living systems, their evolutionary history, language as a biological phenomenon, the nature of explanations, and the origin of humaness. As a reflection on how we do what we do as observers it is a study in the epistemology of knowledge. But, and at the same time as a reflection on how we exist in language as languaging beings, it is a study on human relations".
MATURANA, H., LETTVIN, J., MCCULLOCH, S. and PITTS, W.
Anatomy and physiology of vision in the frog
_Jrnl. of General Physiology_, Vol.43 (1960), pp. 129-175.
MATURANA, H., G. URIBE, and Samy G. FRENK
A Biological Theory of Relativistic Colour Coding in the Primate Retina: A discussion of nervous system closure with reference to certain visual effects
_Archiva de Biologia y Medicina Experimentales, Suplemento_ Vol. 1 (1968), pp. 1-30.
The Neurophysiology of Cognition
in Garvin, P. (ed.), _Cognition: A Multiple View_, New York: Spartan Books, 1969, pp. 3-24.
This is a clearly written, concise introduction to the direction Maturana was going in 1969 -- long before the later terminology of 'organization', 'structure', and 'autopoiesis' were devised.
The Organization of the Living: A Theory of the Living Organization
_International Journal of Man-Machine Studies_, Vol. 7 (1975), pp. 313-332.
MATURANA, H. [1978a]
in HEJL, KOCK, AND ROTH (1978), pp. 29-49.
MATURANA, H. [1978b]
Biology of Language: The Epistemology of Reality
in Miller, George A., and Elizabeth Lenneberg (eds.), _Psychology and Biology of Language and Thought: Essays in Honor of Eric Lenneberg_, New York: Academic Press, 1978, pp. 27-63.
Man and Society
in BENSELER, HEJL, and KOCK (1980), pp. 11-32.>
Reality: The Search for Objectivity or the Quest for a Compelling Argument
_The Irish Journal of Psychology_, Vol. 9 (1988), no. 1, pp. 25-82.
MATURANA, H., and F. VARELA
Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living
Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science [ Cohen, Robert S., and Marx W. Wartofsky (eds.) ], Vol. 42, Dordecht (Holland): D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1980.
MATURANA, H., and F. VARELA
The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding
Boston: Shambhala, 1987. (Revised Edition: same publisher, 1992)