Volume 18 · Number 1 · Pages 020–022
Reflections on Autopoiesis, the Signature of Life

Pier Luigi Luisi

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Open peer commentary on the article “The Organization of the Living: Maturana’s Key Insights” by Fritjof Capra. Abstract: I agree with Capra that autopoiesis is the signature of life and that Maturana did well to reject Cartesian dualism. Contrary to how mainstream biology defines life, I point out that reproduction is a consequence of life, not its origin. Furthermore, I address the questions of whether both autopoiesis and cognition together are necessary for life and whether autopoiesis can be extended beyond the molecular domain. I also have words of criticism for Maturana, who called for “objectivity” to be put in parentheses, and conclude with a reminder that it was Varela who was instrumental in making autopoiesis a household term.


Luisi P. L. (2022) Reflections on autopoiesis, the signature of life. Constructivist Foundations 18(1): 020–022. https://constructivist.info/18/1/020

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