Publication 592

Maturana H. R. & Mpodozis J. (1987) Percepción: Configuración conductual del objeto [Perception: behavioral configuration of the object]. Archivos de Biología y Medicina Experimentales 20(3–4): 319–324. Fulltext at
The word perception is usually heard as connoting an operation of grasping an external reality through the process of receiving information from it. This, however, is constitutively impossible because living systems are dynamic structure determined systems, and everything happens in them determined at every instant by their structure. This means that the medium cannot specify what happens in a living system, and that it can only trigger in it structural changes determined in its structure. As a result a living system constitutively always operates in structural congruence with the medium, and exists as such only as long as this structural congruence (adaptation) is conserved; otherwise it desintegrates. In these circumstances, the phenomenon connoted by the word perception consists in the association, by the observer, of the behavioral regularities that he or she distinguishes in the observed organism with the conditions of the medium that he or she sees triggering them. The observer uses such behavioral regularities to characterize perceptual objects. This applies to all living systems including the observer. The explanation of perception in the context of the structural determinism of living systems invalidates any attempt to account for the phenomenon of cognition (including language) with notions that entail the denotation or connotation of a domain of reality independent of the distinctions of the observer.

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