Embodiments of Autopoiesis

  • Humberto R. Maturana
  • Francisco J. Varela
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 42)


The assertion that physical autopoietic systems are living systems requires the proof that all the phenomenology of a living system can be either reduced or subordinated to its autopoiesis. This proof, obviously, cannot consist in enumerating all biological phenomena and presenting cases of autopoietic systems that exhibit them; rather it must consist in showing that autopoiesis either constitutes or is necessary and sufficient for the occurrence of all biological phenomena, if the proper non-determinant contingencies are given.


Constitutive Relation Living System Biological Phenomenon Factual Characterization Factibility Question 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Humberto R. Maturana
  • Francisco J. Varela

There are no affiliations available

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