The Biological Roots of Human Understanding
"KNOWING HOW WE KNOW" is the subject of this book. Its authors present a new view of cognition that has important social and ethical implications, for, they assert, the only world we humans can have is the one one we create together through the actions of our coexistence. Written for a general audience as well as for students, scholars, and scientists and abundantly illustrated with examples from biology, linguistics, and social and cultural phenomena, this revised edition includes a new afterword by Dr. Varela, in which he discusses the effect the book has had in the five years since its first publication.
"A beautiful and clearly-written guide to thought and perception - something that, like life itself, we take for granted but do not understand. The authors were the pioneers and are now the authoritative figures in the science of cognition: their book is rewarding, thorough, and very readable to anyone curious about the mind and the way that it works."
James Lovelock, author of
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth
"The ideas presented in this book are radical and exciting, disturbing and challenging. For the first time we are shown the outlines of a unified scientific conception of mind, matter, and life. The fruits of Maturana and Varela's Tree of Knowledge include the central insight that cognition is not a representation of the world 'out there,' but rather a 'bringing forth of the world through the process of living itself,' and the stunningly beautiful conclusion: 'We have only the world that we can bring forth with others, and only love helps bring it forth."
Fritjof Capra, author The Tao of Physics
Humberto R, Maturana, PH.D., is a biologist who teaches at the University of Chile. He is also co-author with Dr. Varela of Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living.
Francisco J. Varela, PH.D., is Fondation de France Professor of Cognitive Science and Epistemology at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Institute of Neuroscience of Paris. He is also the author of Principles of Biological Autonomy.