Humberto Maturana


The word perception is currently heard as if it connoted an operation of capture of an external reality, through a process of reception of information of this reality. Nevertheless, this is constitutively impossible, because living beings are structurally determined dynamic systems, and everything that happens in them is determined at every moment by their structure. This means that the medium can not specify what happens in a living system, and that it can only trigger in its structure changes that are determined by its structure. As a result, constitutively a living system operates always in structural congruence with the medium, and exists as such only insofar as this structural congruence (adaptation) is conserved. Otherwise, it disintegrates. In these circumstances, the phenomenon connoted with the word perception consists in the association – by the observer – of the regularities of behavior that he or she distinguishes in the observed organism to the conditions of the medium that he or she sees triggering. The observer uses such behavioral regularities to characterize perceptual objects. This can be applied to all living beings, including the observer. The explanation of perception in the context of the structural determinism of living beings invalidates any effort to give an account of the phenomenon of cognition (including language) with notions that imply the denotation or connotation of the domain of reality independent of the distinctions of the observer.

Artículo Completo:

1987 MATURANAb Perception

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