This is a commentary on ‘Are living beings extended autopoietic systems? An embodied reply’ (Villalobos and Razeto-Barry 2019). The target article proposes a refinement of the autopoietic treatment of living systems, introducing an explicit necessary condition that every living system must be an “autopoietic body”, i.e. a system whose “physical constitution as a body” is “generated by its own poietic activity”. I argue that this criterion is ambiguous, and suggest that it is an expression of a folk theory that will prove inadequate under more rigorous technical analysis.