In hmolscience, autopoiesis (TR:5), or what is “autopoietic”, from the Greek poiesis meaning "make or produce", as contrasted with praxis meaning "action", is a hypothetical attempt (Maturana, 1972) at a re-definition of a "living system" as a thing or system that automatically makes, creates, or produces, without any basis in external reference, environment, or external force, or something along these lines.

In 1972, Humberto Maturana, following a conversation with Francisco Varela, invented the word “autopoiesis”, from auto- “meaning” [add] + -poiesis “to make”, as follows:

“The second essay included in this book [Autopoiesis and Cognition, 1973] was written in 1972, as an expansion of the section on 'Living Systems' in the 'Biology of Cognition'. The writing of this essay was in fact triggered by a conversation that Francisco Varela and I had in which he said: ‘If indeed the circular organization is sufficient to characterize living systems as unities, then one should be able to put it in more formal terms.’ I agreed, but said that a formalization could only come after a complete linguistic description, and we immediately began to work on the complete description. Yet we were unhappy with the expression 'circular organization', and we wanted a word that would by itself convey the central feature of the organization of the living, which is autonomy. It was in these circumstances that one day, while talking with a friend (Jose Bulnes) about an essay of his on Don Quixote de la Mancha, in which he analyzed Don Quixote's dilemma of whether to follow the path of arms (praxis, action) or the path of letters (poiesis, creation, production), and his eventual choice of the path of praxis deferring any attempt at poiesis, I understood for the first time the power of the word ‘poiesis’ and invented the word that we needed: autopoiesis. This was a word without a history, a word that could directly mean what takes place in the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems. Curiously, but not surprisingly, the invention of this word proved of great value. It simplified enormously the task of talking about the organization of the living without falling into the always gaping trap of not saying anything new because the language does not permit it. We could not escape being immersed in a tradition, but with an adequate language we could orient ourselves differently and, perhaps, from the new perspective generate a new tradition.”

In 1973, Maturana, and Varela, in their Autopoiesis and Cognition: Realization of the Living, attempt to re-define living systems NOT as objects of observation and description, nor even as interacting systems, but as “autopoietic” or self-contained unities whose only reference is to themselves, ones that are autonomous, self-referring and self-constructing closed systems, in short. [1]

The term "autopoiesis", in the 1970s and 1980s, seems to have had a certain popularity in melting pot theories, system theories, often being intermixed with dissipative structures theories, among others, before seemingly falling off, per reasons of solipsism, in the 1990s.

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on autopoiesis:

“The autopoietic model is miraculously decoupled from the physical world by its progenitors... (and thus) grounded on a solipsistic foundation that flies in the face of both common sense and scientific knowledge.”
Rod Swenson (1992), “Galileo, Babel, and Autopoiesis (It's Turtles All The Way Down)” [2]

“The term autopoiesis has been invented as a definition of life. Its origin is clearly biological. Its extension to other fields has been discussed, but rather unsuccessfully and on the basis of wrong premises.”
Niklas Luhmann (1980), “The Autopoiesis of Social Systems” (Ѻ)

“I am an atheist with no interest in reinserting classical teleology back onto the physical sciences. I don't think that current systems theory, complexity theory, dissipative systems theory, the autopoiesis metaphor, etc., adequately explain the special thermodynamic organization of living organisms. My attempt ‘teleodynamics’ IS consistent with the second law of thermodynamics (no magic). I argue that teleodynamics is just a special case of thermodynamics not some new physics.”
Terrence Deacon (2013), JDNM review, May 22

1. Maturana, Humberto and Varela, Francisco. (1973). Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living (autopoiesis, pg. xvii). D. Reidel.
2. Swenson, Rod. (1992). “Galileo, Babel, and Autopoiesis (It's Turtles All The Way Down)”, International Journal of General Systems, 21 (2): 267–269.

External links
Autopoiesis – Wikipedia.

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