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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.
This theory contributes a perspective that cognition is a process present at other organic levels.
The Santiago Theory of Cognition is a direct theoretical consequence of the theory of Autopoiesis. Cognition is considered as the ability of adaptation in a certain environment[disambiguation needed]. That definition is not as strange as it seems at first glance: for example, one is considered to have a good knowledge of Mathematics if he can understand and subsequently solve a Mathematical problem. That is, one can recognize the mathematical entities, their interrelations and the procedures used to view other aspects of the relevant phenomena; all these, are the domain of Mathematics. And one with knowledge of that domain, is one adapted to that domain, for he can tweak the problems, the entities and the procedures within the certain domain.
Cognition emerges as a consequence of continuous interaction between the system and its environment. The continuous interaction triggers bilateral perturbations; perturbations are considered problems - therefore the system uses its functional differentiation procedures to come up with a solution (if it doesn't have one handy already through its memory). Gradually the system becomes "adapted" to its environment - that is it can confront the perturbations so as to survive. The resulting complexity of living systems is cognition produced by the history of bilateral perturbations within the system/environment schema.
 See also
- Cognitive science
- Complex systems
- Fritjof Capra
- Heinz von Foerster
- Molecular Cellular Cognition
- Systems thinking
 External resources
- Capra, Fritjof The Santiago Theory of Cognition. The immune system: our second brain. http://www.combusem.com/CAPRA4.HTM