|about Maturana and Varela
|Important thinkers about systems in biology with much
broader relevance. Introduced the notion of Autopoiesis.
|There are two books by Maturana & Varela. Autopoiesis
and Cognition (currently out of print) is deeper and harder to read,
while the Tree of Knowledge is an
easier and more popular work.
Francisco Varela Principles of Biological
Autonomy New York: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1979.
Varela, Thompson & Rosch. The Embodied
Mind (MIT 1991) is a dialogue between cognitive science and Buddhist
This notion, introduced by Maturana and Varela, refers
to autonomous systems that are self-creating, self-organizing and self-preserving.
It is commonly applied to biological organisms, and also to human organizations.
Maturana & Varela deny the conventional
distinction between knowledge and action. Instead they say: ‘All doing
is knowing, and all knowing is doing.’
In data processing, this denial has
implications for the conventional distinction between data
Maturana and Varela introduced the notion of structual coupling
a essential component of identity.
In many fields of science and technology, the relationship between
the whole (holism) and the part (reductionism) is crucial. Flemons describes
this relationship as complementary,
source: Douglas Flemons, Completing Distinctions,
"On the one hand. one can move down a level and study the properties
of the components, disregarding their mutual interconnection as a system.
On the other hand, one can disregard the detailed structure of the components,
treating their behaviour only as contributing to that of a larger unit.
... We cannot conceive of components if there is no system from which they
are abstracted; and there cannot be a whole unless there are constitutive
source: Varela, Principles of Biological
Autonomy, p 102