Francisco Javier Varela García (September 7, 1946 – May 28, 2001) was a Chilean biologist and philosopher who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology.
- [...] the last 15 years have witnessed the ascent of an alternative view, that of embodied or enactive cognition. This new wave arose because the computationalist doctrine failed to account even for the most elementary coping with the world: walking, perceiving object in a natural setting, imagination. Slowly the cards turned into considering that the basis of mind is the body in coupled action, that is, the sensory-motor circuits establish the organism as viable in situated contexts. Form this perspective the brain appears as a dynamical process (and not a syntactic one) of real time variables with a rich self-organizing capacity (and not a representational machinery). So in this sense the mind is not in the head since it is roots in the body as a whole and also in the extended environment where the organism finds itself.
- The Cosmos Letter, Expo'90 Foundation, Japan