Publication 5629

Maturana H. R. & Varela F. J. (1992) Knowing how we know. Chapter 1 in: The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. Revised Edition. Shambhala, Boston: 17–30. Fulltext at
Excerpt: This whole book is a sort of invitation to refrain from the habit of falling into the temptation of certainty. This is necessary for two reasons. On the one hand, if the reader does not suspend his certainties, we cannot communicate anything here that will be embodied in his experience as an effective understanding of the phenomenon of cognition. On the other hand, what this book aims to show, by scrutinizing the phenomenon of cognition and our actions flowing from it, is that all cognitive experience involves the knower in a personal way, rooted in his biological structure. There, his experience of certainty is an individual phenomenon blind to the cognitive acts of others, in a solitude which, as we shall see, is transcended only in a world created with those others.

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