Nothing happens in a living system that its biology does not permit. Or, better, nothing happens in a living system that its initial structure does not permit as a case of historical transformation under a particular sequence of interactions. Yet in other words, the initial structure of an organism makes possible all that can happen to it in its individual history, but does not specify its future. Everything that occurs in a living system occurs as a result of its continuous change in a history of interactions in a medium under a form of epigenesis. Therefore, strictly, the phenomenon of genetic determination as the specification in the nucleic acids of a future outcome in the development of an organism does not exist. This deserves the following comments:
a) An observer can speak of genetic determination only if he or she is implying a total epigenetic repetition as a standard and unavoidable phenomenon in the development of a particular organism. In other words, if the initial structure repeats, and the history of relevant interactions repeats, then the outcome repeats. This, of course, every biologist knows, but it is not always clear in his or her discourse. Furthermore, that this is the case is a consequence of the structural determinism of living systems.
b) We call learning that part of the ontogeny of an organism that we as observers see as occurring as if this were adapting itself to some novel and unusual circumstance of the environment. Furthermore, we usually see the phenomenon that we call learning as if the organism were adapting to the features of the environment and, therefore, handling them through the process of making a representation of them. Nothing of this happens or can happen. The living system is a structure determined system and, as such, nothing external to it can specify what happens to it; indeed, for the operation of a living system, there is no inside or outside, and it cannot make a representation of what an observer sees as external to it.
c) All that happens in the life of a living system arises through its ontogenic structural change under an epigenetic mode. Along the epigenetic transformations of an organism, the structure of an organism and the structure of the medium that it encounters (its niche) change congruently as an unavoidable result of their recurrent interactions. As we observe the conservation of the operational congruence between organism and medium that results from this, we call learning that part of the ontogeny of a living system that, due to its complexity, we do not see as an epigenetic process. From the perspective of the explanatory path of objectivity-without-parenthesis, we speak of the phenomenon that we call learning as if what happened to the organism along it had become a process directed to its adaptation to its final circumstances. In this explanatory path, learning is a commentary that an observer makes about two moments in the epigenesis of an organism in which he or she does not see the historical process that connects them and assumes an active mechanism of accommodation that does not take place. From the perspective of the explanatory path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, the phenomenon connoted by the word 'learning' takes place as an epigenetic process, and as such does not entail accommodation or the making of a representation of an environment.
All that happens along the life history of a living system since its inception as a single cell occurs in it in an epigenetic process. This, of course, also applies to us human beings. As a result, all the different kinds of systems that we integrate along our lives (such as mother-child relations from the uterus to after birth, social systems, communities or cultures) arise as different manners of our being in epigenesis, and constitute different domains of epigenesis for those of us who adopt them or grow in them. Furthermore, this also applies to what happens to us in the involvement of our bodyhoods in the flow of the conversations in which we participate, regardless of whether they take place in a community or in a soliloquy: we live our conversations and our reflections in epigenesis in a recursive interaction of our bodyhoods with the consequences in our bodyhoods of the course of our languaging. This is why all that we do, and all our different manners of living, appear embodied in our bodyhoods showing up in our actions, and we require to change our bodyhoods to change as persons. Finally, that this should be so does not constitute a limitation in us; on the contrary, it constitutes all our possibilities, even that our reflections should have consequences in our living.