There is a strong current in contemporary culture advocating ‘ holistic ’ views as some sort of cure-all... Reductionism implies attention to a lower level while holistic implies attention to higher level. These are intertwined in any satisfactory description: and each entails some loss relative to our cognitive preferences, as well as some gain... there is no whole system without an interconnection of its parts and there is no whole system without an environment.
Varela (1977) "On being autonomous: The lessons of natural history for systems theory. In: George Klir (ed.) Applied Systems Research. New York: Plenum Press. p. 77-85 as cited in: D. Rudrauf (2003) "From autopoiesis to neurophenomenology: Francisco Varela's exploration of the biophysics of being". In: Biol Res 36: 27-65
If everybody would agree that their current reality is a reality, and that what we essentially share is our capacity for constructing a reality, then perhaps we could all agree on a meta-agreement for computing a reality that would mean survival and dignity for everyone on the planet, rather than each group being sold on a particular way of doing things.Francisco Varela
I’m a biologist who has been interested in the biological roots of cognitive phenomenaFrancisco Varela
I hope I have seduced the reader to consider that we have in front of us the possibility of an open-ended quest for resonant passages between human experience and cognitive science. The price however is to take first-person accounts seriously as valid domain of phenomena. And beyond that, to build a sustained tradition of phenomenological examination that is almost entirely nonexistent today in our western science and culture at large.Francisco Varela
By autopoietic organization, Maturana and Varela meant the] processes interlaced in the specific form of a network of productions of components which realizing the network that produced them constitutes it as a unity.Francisco Varela
The relations that define a system as a unity, and determine the dynamics of interaction and transformations which it may undergo as such a unity constitute the organization of the machine.Francisco Varela
As Buddhist teachers often point out, knowledge, in the sense of prajña, is not knowledge about anything. There is no abstract knower of an experience that is separate from the experience itself.Francisco Varela
The cybernetics phase of cognitive science produced an amazing array of concrete results, in addition to its long-term (often underground) influence:Francisco Varela
all our suffering is associated with this pre-occupation. All loss and gain, pleasure and pain arise because we identify so closely with this vague feeling of selfness that we have. We are so emotionally involved with and attached to this "self" that we take it for granted.Francisco Varela
[M]any people would accept that we do not really have knowledge of the world; we have knowledge only of our representations of the world. Yet we seem condemned by our consitution to treat these representations as if they were the world, for our everyday experience feels as if it were of a given and immediate world.Francisco Varela
The emergence of a unified cognitive moment relies on the coordination of scattered mosaics of functionally specialized brain regions. Here we review the mechanisms of large-scale integration that counterbalance the distributed anatomical and functional organization of brain activity to enable the emergence of coherent behaviour and cognition. Although the mechanisms involved in large-scale integration are still largely unknown, we argue that the most plausible candidate is the formation of dynamic links mediated by synchrony over multiple frequency bands.Francisco Varela
Francisco, an experimental and theoretical biologist, studied what he termed "emergent selves" or "virtual identities." His was an immanent view of reality, based on metaphors derived from self-organization and Buddhist-inspired epistemology rather than on those derived from engineering and information science.Francisco Varela
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