March 14 (the second Monday of the month, besides being Commonwealth Day in Canada that isn't a statutory holiday!) is the 98th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is at https://entropy-systems-thinking.eventbrite.ca .

Entropy:  How does the Second Law of Thermodynamics change our thinking?

Entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, is foundational to the systems sciences.  Since the field aims for isomorphies (i.e. patterns that apply across many disciiplines), a variety of interpretations of entropy can create a lot of confusion!

David L. Hawk, in his 2019 book, remarks:

“Entropy, something I had no idea about when first told, then began to understand it on second encounter, then knew I would never understand it when I met it the third time. Then, not being able to ever get over it on fourth encounter.”  [....]

"For Einstein, then Steven Hawking, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was sacrosanct.  [,,,,] Many leading scientists have gone deeper in arguing why they agree with Einstein, then Hawking, and feel so strongly about entropy is a supreme law of nature and must be factored into what humans do."

With this caution, David Hawk has agreed to guide us towards some understanding of entropy, and how it shapes (or misshapes!) the human condition.

The pre-reading list, below, has been annotated, to encourage participants to gain some familiarity in advance of the interactive discussion. 


Recommended video

Dan O’Neill. 2021. The Laws of Thermodynamics and the Economy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Clz8DQvIk.

Suggested pre-reading: 

Wade, Nicholas. 1975. “Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen: Entropy the Measure of Economic Man.” Science, October. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.190.4213.447.  Also at https://www.jstor.org/stable/1740513 , accessible when logged into the Toronto Public Library at https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.torontopubliclibrary.ca/stable/1740513 .  [Referenced on Google Scholar]

Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1986. “The Entropy Law and the Economic Process in Retrospect.” Eastern Economic Journal 12 (1): 3–25. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40357380 .  Accessible when logged into the Toronto Public Library at https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.torontopubliclibrary.ca/stable/40357380 .  [Alternate search on Google Scholar]

Corning, Peter A., and Stephen Jay Kline. 1998. “Thermodynamics, Information and Life Revisited, Part I: ‘To Be or Entropy.’” Systems Research and Behavioral Science 15 (4): 273–95. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199807/08)15:4%3C273::AID-SRES200%3E3.0.CO;2-B.  [Referenced on Google Scholar]

Levallois, Clément. 2010. “Can De-Growth Be Considered a Policy Option? A Historical Note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome.” Ecological Economics, 69 (11): 2271–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.06.020.  [Alternate search on Google Scholar]

Hawk, David L. 2019. Too Early, Too Late, Now What? AuthorHouse. https://www.authorhouse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/799308-too-early-too-late-now-what.  [Cached on academia.edu]


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.