Humberto Maturana, who died on 6 May 2021 at the age of 92, was one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century. His theory of autopoiesis and cognition, developed in collaboration with Francisco Varela, provides a clear scientific answer to the age-old question, ‘What is Life?’ It is based on two revolutionary insights: that the essence of biological life is a certain pattern of organisation (a self-generating network of metabolic processes); and that all living organisms continually regenerate themselves by interacting cognitively with their environment. Based on these two insights, Maturana ...


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