Cover Illustration

From Being to Doing

The Origins of the Biology of Cognition

Translated from the German by Wolfram Karl Koeck and Alison Rosemary Koeck
208 p., 15 Illus., Paperback, 2004
€ 10.00
978-3-89670-448-1
Original Title: Vom Sein zum Tun

At the beginning of the last century, physicists revolutionised the scientific view of the world. Today biologists are radically transforming our understanding of the processes of life and cognition. Probing the mysteries of the mind, they have been able to prove that, in the act of knowing, the observer and the observed, subject and object, are inextricably enmeshed. The world we live in is not independent from us; we literally bring it forth ourselves.

One of the protagonists of this new kind of thinking is the internationally renowned neurobiologist and systems theorist Humberto R. Maturana who was interviewed for several weeks by Bernhard Poerksen, journalist, and communication scientist. In this book, they explore the limits of our cognitive powers, discuss the truth in perception, the biology of love, and give, all in all, an introduction to systemic thinking that is down to earth, imaginative, and rich in anecdote.

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Humberto R. Maturana

Humberto R. Maturana, born 1928, first studied medicine in Chile, and then anatomy in England, was awarded a Ph.D. in biology at Harvard University, and went on to do postgraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1960, he returned to the University of Santiago. There he taught – also during the years of the dictatorship – until his retirement. He worked as a professor of biology, founded and directed the Laboratory for Experimental Epistemology and the Biology of Cognition. Humberto R. Maturana, who has become famous as a leading exponent of modern systems thinking, is the author of several books, including the bestseller written together with his disciple Francisco J. Varela, “The Tree of Knowledge”.

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Bernhard Pörksen

Bernhard Pörksen, Prof. Dr., studied German studies, journalism and biology. He was working as a journalist for several years. Today he is professor of media studies at the University of Tuebingen/Germany. He was awarded a Ph.D. for a thesis on the language of neo-Nazis.Together with Heinz von Foerster he wrote the widely noted book Understanding Systems. Conversations on Epistemology and Ethics.

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