This is a bold, brilliant, provocative and puzzling work. It demands a radical shift in standpoint, an almost paradoxical posture in which living systems are described in terms of what lies outside the domain of descriptions. The construction of a systematic theoretical biology which attempts to define living systems not as they are objects of observation and description, nor even as in­ teracting systems, but as self-contained unities whose only reference is to themselves. Thus, the standpoint of description of such unities from the ‘outside', i. e. , by an observer, already seems to violate the fundamental requirement that they are autonomous, self-referring and self-constructing closed systems – in short, autopoietic systems in their terms. Yet, on the basis of such a conceptual method, and such a theory of living systems. And on this basis, to generate the very domains of interac­ tion among such systems which constitute language, description and thinking.

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