Academics paid tribute to Francisco Varela with a debate about 'knowing'

Academics paid tribute to Francisco Varela with a debate about 'knowing'

Three neurobiologists, a choreographer, an astronomer and a neurocientista came together November 21 to honor the biologist Francisco Varela, through a dialogue which relieved from different points of view, one of the central issues in the studies of the deceased academic in the Faculty of Sciences: the phenomenon of the meet.

Until the Centro Cultural Casa or Lastarria, became prominent researcher in cognitive neuroscience of the Institute of brain and spinal cord of Salpêtrière, France,Lionel Naccache. Next to it, a diverse group of scholars of the u. of Chile, opened the microphones to talk around the following question:"What we know when we know?". In the background, and coming every now and then to the conversation, the figure ofFrancisco Varela-the honoree of the day - biologist at the University of Chile, recognized worldwide for its work in neuroscience and cognitive science, academic in the Faculty of Sciences, and who together to the Professor of our University, Humberto Maturana, also gave origin to the concept of autopoiesis in the Decade of the seventies.

Andrea Slachevskyof the Faculty of medicine,Paulina Lirathe Faculty of physical sciences and mathematics (FCFM),Paulina Melladoof the Faculty of Arts, in addition toJorge Mpodozis and Juan Carlos Letelierof the Faculty of Sciences, joined the debate organized by the unit transdisciplinary networks (RedesTd) of the Vice Presidency of research and development of the University of Chile.

Slachevsky, academic Department of neuroscience, Director of the memory and of el Salvador Hospital Neuropsychiatry clinic and Assistant Director of Center GERO, opened the interventions of the day stating:"Knowing is first of all to realize the extent of our ignorance.Know is out of the common places and take a risk of being stunned or shocked at the extent of the known non-, and run the risk of paralysing. Do not think it possible to question why we know, without avoiding a teleological tendency which is find a reason at all costs. "Perhaps the only sense of knowledge can be its aim, meet to learn, a purpose without sense", suggested Slachevsky paraphrase the definition of the life of Edgar Morin.

"Let's talk about coming out of our comfort zone. This is an exercise that goes beyond our area of knowledge", Naccache said at the start of his show, which then brought the memory their encounters with Varela in Paris:"I have a memory of the very rich of their intellectual vivacity and his ability to listen. This tribute seems beautiful to me"He warned.

The paradox of knowledge, the information society and experience subjective, were the lines of the exhibition of the French expert, who began raising the duality that knowledge has been historically perceived."There is a message between different cultural traditions that knowledge is qualified as positive, but there is also a facet of this associated with danger"said exemplifying some myths as the cavern of Plato, the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and the death of Icarus.

After this introduction, Naccache was turned to the process of knowing."Humans operate in a system of fictions, interpretations and experiences. When one is confronted with a situation, one produces sense"the neurocientista said adding that "knowledge is the only way to transform itself, call into question the past interpretations". In this sense, the specialist warned the confusion that is often made between knowledge and information."In knowledge matters above all subjective experience, it is very important to reintroduce the subject knowledge"It said, concluding that "the information society is not a society of knowledge. Knowledge is experience."

Know from the dance, astronomy, and biology

Adding voices to the debate upon knowing, then came the turn of the astronomer of the FCFMPaulina Lirawho recounted how this process occurs in their discipline."The important thing is that the analysis is framed in a context that is built by the previous discoveries that have been made. Usually this is the way that advances science, small developments that are part of a theory that already exists, in a context that already exists.Rarely has it been given, a new line of knowledge has appeared completely octagonal to the previously known", but however this occurred twice at the beginning of the last century: one, with the development of quantum mechanics, and the other, with the development of the theory of relativity".

From the dance, the choreographerPaulina MelladoHe told those present:"I'm going to talk about me and how I work choreographically, and how is knowledge". Thus, academic explained that there are two forms of knowledge through practice, for it"one has to do with the interpretation and the other with the choreography.My choreographic proposal has to do with the possibility of recognizing the idea of a subject that has a body that things happen.I want to work with people generating recognition of its body and its possibilitieswaking up a type of consciousness and self-awareness in which the individual would be able to organize those honors and develop peculiarities, which subsequently will be used in the choreography. "Our working modes have to do with how to enter these bodies, to ensure that the movement between bodies", explained.

Memories about his work with Francisco Varela in the Faculty of Sciences, and the study of the vinchuca linked to know, were part of the exhibition of the neurobiologistJorge Mpodozis, of knowing biology laboratory. "What makes the vinchuca has to do with the manner in which in the environment. There is no object there, object arises with the taking of the bug that is acting or existing, the environment is just the environment andobjects with which human beings interact, arise from actions and not preexist to them.This is at the bottom of the conversation which we participate in the lab, and that has to do with the conceptual development that Professor Maturana and Francisco had been doing since the 1960s,"said Mpodozis closing his intervention with the phrase "There is a universe but the universe you do".

Finally, the neurobiologist of the Faculty of Sciences and also a member of the Laboratory of Known Biology,Juan Carlos Letelier,he toured the works of Francisco Varela, relieved his contributions and the paths he left open in the cognitive sciences after his death in 2001."You can say that Francisco Varela was a complete modern scientist. He trained many people, worked the mathematical methods of biology, advanced one of the most consistent theories about the nature of living beings.He worked on a version of the problem of the coupling structure and the problem of neural sync, which as presented by Varela was a very seductive idea, but which really needs to develop much more. There's a huge field there, and I don't think he would ever have imagined how it derived history. That's an idea he pushed and that's very fundamental to understanding certain aspects of modern neuroscience," the academic concluded.