Francisco Varela

Francisco Varela

Francisco Javier Varela García (Sept 7, 1946 – May 28, 2001), was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology.


Francisco_Varela was born in 1946 in Santiago in Chile. Like his mentor Humberto Maturana, Varela studied first medicine then biology in Chile, then did a Ph.D. in biology at Harvard University. His thesis, defended in 1970 and supervised by Torsten Wiesel, was titled "Insect Retinas: Information processing in the compound eye".

After the 1973 military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, Varela and his family spent 7 years in exile in the USA before returning to Chile to become a Professor of biology.

Varela became a Tibetan Buddhist in the 1970s, initially studying with the meditation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Vajradhatu and Shambhala Training, and later with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, a Nepalese master of higher tantras.

In 1986, he settled in France, where he at first taught cognitive science and epistemology at the École Polytechnique, and neuroscience at the University of Paris. From 1988 until his death, he led a research group at the CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique).

He died in 2001 in Paris of Hepatitis C after having written an account of his 1998 liver transplant. [ " [ Intimate Distances - Fragments for a Phenomenology of Organ Transplantation] "] . Varela had four children, including the actress and model Leonor Varela.


Varela was primarily trained as a biologist, and was fundamentally influenced by his teacher and fellow Chilean, Humberto Maturana, also a biologist with a strong philosophical orientation.

Varela wrote and edited a number of books and numerous journal articles in biology, neurology, cognitive science, mathematics, and philosophy. He was a founding member of the Integral Institute, a thinktank dedicated to the cross-fertilization of ideas and disciplines.

Varela was a proponent of the embodied philosophy which argues that human cognition and consciousness can only be understood in terms of the enactive structures in which they arise, namely the body (understood both as a biological system and as personally, phenomenogically experienced) and the physical world with which the body interacts. He introduced into neuroscience the concepts of neurophenomenology, based on the phenomenological writings of Edmund Husserl and of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and on "first person science," in which observers examine their conscious experience using scientifically verifiable methods.

See also

* Autopoiesis
* Cartesian anxiety
* Molecular Cellular Cognition
* Phenomenology
* Neurophenomenology
* Neurodynamics


Varela wrote numerous book and articles: [Comprehensive [ bibliography] by Randall Whitaker.]
* 1980 (with Humberto Maturana). "Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living". Boston: Reidel.
* 1979. "Principles of Biological Autonomy". North-Holland.
* 1998 (1987) (with Humberto Maturana). "The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding". Boston: Shambhala Press.
* 1991 (with Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch). "The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience". MIT Press.
* 1992 (with P. Bourgine, eds.). "Towards a Practice of Autonomous Systems: The First European Conference on Artificial Life". MIT Press.
* 1992 (with J. Hayward, eds.). "Gentle Bridges: Dialogues Between the Cognitive Sciences and the Buddhist Tradition". Boston: Shambhala Press.
* 1993 ( with D. Stein, eds.). "Thinking About Biology: An Introduction to Theoretical Biology". Addison-Wesley, SFI Series on Complexity.
* 1997 (ed.). "Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying". Boston: Wisdom Book.
* 1996-99. "Invitation aux sciences cognitives". Paris: Seuil.
* 1999. "Ethical Know-How: Action, Wisdom and Cognition". Stanford University Press.
* 1999 (with J. Shear, eds.). "The View from Within: First-Person Methodologies in the Study of Consciousness". London: Imprint Academic.
*1999 (with J. Petitot, B. Pachoud, and J-M. Roy, eds.). "Naturalizing Phenomenology: Contemporary Issues in Phenomenology and Cognitive Science". Stanford University Press.


External links

* [ Intimate Distances] An autobiographical essay written shortly before his death
* Francisco Varela: In memoriam:
** [ Evan Thompson]
** [ John Brockman]
** [ Randall Whitaker]
*"The Embodied Mind":
** [ Evan Thompson,] coauthor.
** [ Eleanor Rosch,] coauthor.
** Daniel Dennett, 1993, " [ Review of The Embodied Mind,] " "American Journal of Psychology 106": 121-26.
* " [ Escher, enaction & intersubjectivity.] "
* " [ Why the mind is not in the head] " The Cosmos Letter, Expo'90 Foundation, Japan
* Franz Reichle, 2004. [ Film Monte Grande - What is Life?]

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См. также в других словарях:

  • Francisco Varela — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Francisco Varela (desambiguación). Francisco Varela, en Dharamsala, 1994. Francisco Javier Varela García (Santiago de Chile, 7 de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Francisco Varela — à Dharamsala, 1994 Pour les articles homonymes, voir Varela. Francisco Javier Varela (Santiago du Chili, 7  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francisco Varela — (Santiago, 7 de septiembre, 1946 París, 28 de mayo, 2001). Biólogo y filósofo chileno, investigador en el ámbito de las neurociencias y ciencias cognitivas …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francisco Varela — F. Varela Francisco Varela (* 7. September 1946 in Santiago de Chile; † 28. Mai 2001 in Paris) war ein chilenischer Biologe, Philosoph und Neurowissenschaftler, der zusammen mit Humberto Maturana vor allem …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Francisco Varela (desambiguación) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Francisco Varela es el conjunto del nombre propio Francisco y el apellido Varela que puede referirse a: Personajes Francisco Varela García (1946 2001), investigador chileno; Francisco Varela (h.1580 1645), pintor… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Francisco Varela (pintor) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Francisco Varela (desambiguación). Francisco Varela fue un pintor español nacido en fecha incierta, alrededor de 1580, posiblemente en Sevilla y fallecido en esta misma ciudad… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Varela — puede referirse a: Contenido 1 Personas 1.1 Argentina 1.2 Perú 1.3 Cuba 1.4 Chile …   Wikipedia Español

  • Varela — is a common Spanish and Portuguese surname of Galician origin. It May refer to:People*Adilson Tavares Varela, Swiss footballer *Adrián Varela, Mexican reality show contestant *Adriana Varela, Argentine tango singer *Amancio Amaro Varela, Galician …   Wikipedia

  • Varela — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Carlos Varela (Musiker) (* 1963), kubanischer Musiker Carlos Varela (Fussballspieler) (* 1977), schweizerisch spanischer Fußballspieler Carlos Varela (Regisseur), spanischer Regisseur von Animationsfilmen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Francisco — ist ein männlicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Mittelname …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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