Publication 2253

Mingers J. (1991) The Cognitive Theories of Maturana and Varela. Systems Practice 4(4): 319–338. Fulltext at
Maturana and Varela developed the concept of autopoiesis to explain the phenomena of living organisms. They went further and postulated theories concerning the nervous system and the development of cognition. These theories have radical conclusions concerning human thought, language, and social activity. This paper aims to introduce these ideas and to explore the main implications. It also discusses the application of these cognitive theories in three separate domains – computer systems design, family therapy, and the Law.

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