This new issue of BioSystems is entirely dedicated to explore the contemporary variations on the theme of autopoiesis, how the concept has been received, modified, implemented and operationalized from its original formulation in the early 1980s.
Fifty years after the birth of autopoiesis theory, by the Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, the rich mine of concepts related to the organization of living systems, its consequences and implications seem to be boundlessly fecund. Based on the central questions of the life sciences, i.e., What is life? Which sort of “machines” are living systems?, Maturana and Varela derive an answer from the very peculiar way matter and energy are structurally and dynamically organized in all living organisms, i.e., as a “network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components” which realize a topological, metabolic, and operational closure. From this, it is possible to derive a whole phenomenology of living systems. On these bases, autopoiesis has gained a great relevance in theoretical biology, epistemology, cognitive sciences, social sciences, and in the “sciences of artificial” (hardware, software, and wetware implementations). The Special Issue entitled “Autopoiesis: Foundation of Life, Cognition, and Emergence of Self/Other” aims at collecting the most recent approaches, experimental investigations, advanced considerations, and original discussion on classical and novel themes related to autopoiesis, intended as a grounding theory for life, cognition and for the emergence of self/other distinction. The Special Issue is open to all interested authors, provided that the contributions fall within this topic and the scope of the journal.
Papers available here, about half of them are open access.