Today, Maturana and Varela are often cited as the originators of the recursive view [instead of Bateson]. .../... They [all three] agree that biological approaches are dominated by erroneous interpretations in which a function - standing for part- of- a- whole - is considered to be as an imputed causal mechanism in nearly all of biology. Bateson contemplated ways in which a new science might take as its subject the way in which wholes and parts relate to each other. Maturana worked systematically through the alternative proposition of whole, rather than part, as causal mechanism.

Harries-Jones Peter, 2004. Revisiting Angels Fear: Recursion, Ecology and Aesthetics. SEED (1), p. 143-165.