Publication 2515

Varela F. J. & Poerksen B. (2004) Truth is what works. In: Poerksen B. (ed.) The certainty of uncertainty: Dialogues introducing constructivism. Imprint Academic, Exeter UK: 85–107. Fulltext at
Excerpt: In his research work embracing cognitive science, evolutionary theory, and immunology, Francisco J. Varela, constantly inspired by his fundamen- tal interest in the key questions of epistemology, gave the epistemological debate a new orientation. In his thinking he refuses to accept the strict sepa- ration of subject and object, of knower and known, which as a rule unites realists and constructivists alike. Francisco J. Varela rejects the fundamental dualism dividing mind and world, which had shaped Western philosophy from its earliest beginnings. He does not subscribe to the idea that human individuals can invent their own realities – blindly and arbitrarily, and without experiencing any resistance from the external world and all other things given. He equally distances himself, however, from the diametrically opposite position that overstates the eigenpower of the world of objects. The external world and all other things given cannot determine what happens in an organism. Varela’s claim is that individual and world create each other.
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