Humberto Maturana (born September 14, 1928, in Santiago, Chile) is a Chilean biologist and philosopher. Many consider him a member of a group of second-wave cyberneticians such as Heinz von Foerster, Gordon Pask, Herbert Brün and Ernst von Glasersfeld.
Maturana, along with Francisco Varela, is particularly known for creating the term autopoiesis about the nature of reflexive feedback mechanisms in living systems, and concepts such as structural determinism and structure coupling. His work has been influential in many fields, mainly the field of systems thinking and cybernetics. Overall, his work is concerned with the biology of cognition.
After completing secondary school at the Liceo Manuel de Salas in 1947, Maturana enrolled at the University of Chile, studying first medicine then biology. In 1954, he obtained a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation to study anatomy and neurophysiology at University College London. He obtained a PhD in biology from Harvard University in 1958.
He works in neuroscience at the University of Chile, in the research center "Biología del Conocer" (Biology of Knowledge). Maturana's work has been developed and integrated into the work on Ontological coaching done by Fernando Flores and Julio Olalla.
As of the year 2000, Maturana established his own reflection and research center: the Instituto de Formación Matriztica.
Maturana's research interest concerns concepts like cognition, autopoiesis, languaging, zero time cybernetics and structural determined systems. Maturana's work extends to philosophy and cognitive science and even to family therapy. He was early inspired by the work of the biologist Jakob von Uexküll.
His inspiration for his work in cognition came while he was a medical student and became seriously ill with tuberculosis. Confined in a sanatorium with very little to read, he spent time reflecting on his condition and the nature of life. What he came to realize was "that what was peculiar to living systems was that they were discrete autonomous entities such that all the processes that they lived, they lived in reference to themselves ... whether a dog bites me or doesn't bite me, it is doing something that has to do with itself." This paradigm of autonomy formed the basis of his studies and work.
Constructivist epistemology 
Maturana and his student Francisco Varela were the first to define and employ the concept of autopoiesis. Aside from making important contributions to the field of evolution, Maturana is also a founder of constructivist epistemology or radical constructivism, an epistemology built upon empirical findings of neurobiology.
Maturana and Varela wrote in their Santiago Theory of Cognition: "Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with or without a nervous system."
Cultural biology 
At the Instituto de Formación Matríztica Maturana has contributed extensively to the Biology of knowledge and the biology of loving. At this point, Maturana has formulated new perspectives about human life and continues to do so. Psychology, the use of language, experience, and the general impulse to understand serve as explanatory bases for the depiction of human ways of life. In this way, they are proposing the notion of "Cultural biology" as the intertwinement and dynamic of the biology of knowledge and the biology of loving as a manner to present both cultural and biological bases of human existence.
See also 
Books, a selection:
- 1979 Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living With Francisco Varela. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science). Paperback, 1991.
- 1984. The tree of knowledge. Biological basis of human understanding. With Francisco Varela Revised edition (1992) The Tree of Knowledge: Biological Roots of Human Understanding.
- 1990. Biology of Cognition and epistemology. Ed Universidad de la Frontera. Temuco, Chile.
- 1992 Conversations with Humberto Maturana: Questions to biologist Psychotherapist. With K. Ludewig. Ed Universidad de la Frontera. Temuco, Chile. 1992.
- 1994. Reflections and Conversations. With Kurt Ludewig. Collection Family Institute. FUPALI Ed. Cordova. 1994
- 1994. Democracy is a Work of Art. Collection Roundtable. Linotype Ed Bogota Bolivar y Cia.
- 1997 Objectivity - An argument to force. Santiago de Chile: Ed Dolmen.
- 1997 Machines and living things. Autopoiese to do Organização Vivo. With Francisco Varela Porto Alegre: Medical Arts, 1997.
- 2004. From Being to Doing, The Origins of the Biology of Cognition. With Bernhard Poerksen. Paperback, 2004
- 2009. The Origins of humanness in the Biology of Love. With Gerda Verden-Zoller and Pille Brunnel
- 2004. From biology to psychology. Paperback.
- 2009. Sense of humanity. Paperback.
- Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp (2012) Systems Thinkers
- Maturana, Humberto R./Varela, Francisco J. (1980): Autopoiesis and Cognition. The Realization of the Living. Dordrecht: Reidel, p. 13.
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- The official site of Humberto Maturana
- Cultural Biology Certification - Brazil
- Webpage of the Biology of Cognition laboratory, at Universidad de Chile