Francisco Varela (September 7, 1946, Santiago - May 28, 2001, Paris) was a Chilean biologist and philosopher, who, together with Humberto Maturana, is most well-known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology. He is also a proponent of the embodied philosophy which claims that human consciousness can only be understood in terms of the physical structures in which it arises, namely the body, and the environment in which the body interacts.
Varela was the father of Chilean actress Leonor Varela.
H. Maturana and F. Varela: Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living, Boston: D. Reidel, 1980
F. Varela: Principles of Biological Autonomy, New York: Elsevier/North-Holland, 1979
H. Maturana and F. Varela: The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding, Boston: Shambhala, 1987-1998
F. Varela, E. Thompson and E. Rosch: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991
F. Varela and P. Bourgine (Eds.): Towards a Practice of Autonomous Systems: The First European Conference on Artificial Life, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1992
J. Hayward and F. Varela (Eds.): Gentle Bridges: Dialogues Between the Cognitive Sciences and the Buddhist Tradition, Boston: Shambhala, 1992
D. Stein and F. Varela (Eds.): Thinking About Biology: An Introduction to Theoretical Biology, Reading: Addison-Wesley, SFI Series on Complexity, 1993
F. Varela (Ed.): Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying, Boston: Wisdom Book, 1997
F. Varela: Invitation aux sciences cognitives, Paris: Seuil, 1996-1999
F. Varela: Ethical Know-How: Action, Wisdom and Cognition, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999
F. Varela and J. Shear (Eds.): The View from Within: First-Person Methodologies in the Study of Consciousness, London: Imprint Academic, 1999
J. Petitot, F. Varela, B. Pachoud and J-M. Roy (Eds.): Naturalizing Phenomenology: Contemporary Issues in Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.