Humberto Maturana (born September 14, 1928 in Santiago) is a Chilean biologist whose work extends to philosophy and cognitive science and even to family therapy. Maturana and his student Francisco Varela were the first to define and to employ the concept of autopoiesis. Aside from making important contributions to the field of evolution, Maturana is also a founder of radical constructivism, a relativistic epistemology built upon empirical findings of neurobiology. Maturna 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.
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, professor Maturana established his own reflection and research center: the Instituto de Formación Matriztica. Here Maturana has contributed extensively to the Biology of Knowledge and Biology of Loving. At this point, Maturana has formulated, with Ximena Davila, 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.