Publication 4220

Vaz N. M. (2011) Francisco Varela and the immunological self. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 28: 696–703. Fulltext at
Francisco Varela, a leading neurobiologist and cognitive scientist, made a 10-year-long incursion into immunology. His in-depth contributions aimed to develop a systemic description to replace the standard stimulus/response/regulation scaffold that has governed immunology since its inception in the 19th century. Many of these efforts involved expansions of the notions introduced by Niels Jerne in his idiotypic network theory (Jerne, 1974a, 1974b) with the added notion of organizational closure, derived from the autopoietic theory. However, today, just like yesterday, the immunological community remains inclined to neglect these efforts and instead rests satisfied with half-a-century old clonal selection concepts (Burnet, 1959).

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