Ontology of Observing
THE BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF SELF CONSCIOUSNESS AND
THE PHYSICAL DOMAIN OF EXISTENCE

Humberto R. Maturana


3. Nature of the answer

I am a biologist, and it is from my experience as a biologist that in this essay I am treating the phemomenon of cognition as a biological phenomenon. Furthermore, since as a biologist I am a scientist, it is as scientist that I shall provide a biological explanation of the phenomenon of cognition. In order to do this: a), I shall make explicit what I shall consider as an adequate behaviour in the context of what I consider is a scientific explanation (section 4), so that all the implications of my explanation may be apparent to the reader and she or he may know when it is attained; b), I shall make explicit my epistmological standing with respect to the notion of objectivity (section 5), so that the ontological status of my explanation may be apparent; c), I shall make explicit the notions that I shall use in my explanation by showing how they belong to our daily life (section 6), so that it may be apparent how we are involved as human beings in the explanation that I shall provide; and d) I shall make explicit the nature of the biological phenomena involved in my explanations (section 7), so that it may be apparent how we are involved as living system in the explanation as well as in the phenomenon of cognition itself. Finally, in the process of explaining the phenomenon of cognition as a biological phenomenon I shall show how it is that scientific theories arise as free creations of the human mind, how it is that they explain human experience and not an independent objective world, and how does the physical domain of existence arise in the explanation of the praxis of living of the observer as a feature or the ontology of observing (sections 8 to 11).


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Instituto de Terapia Cognitiva de Santiago de Chile