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Exploring the links between thermodynamics and social sciences: the contribution of our understanding of space and time relationships

Abstract : Enlightened by our experience of the relations between physics on the one hand, thermodynamics and geology on the other, we will begin with some general considerations on the relations that can be envisaged between the different disciplines of knowledge. Depending on the case, one can try to reduce one discipline to a more fundamental one, and aggregate the "si mple" models of one to organize the other; analogies can also help to propose models. It is often possible t o observe an autonomy of the disciplines with respect to the other s . They can cooperate, merge into new disciplines. The notion of law, of initia conditions, the role of contingencies, may differ from one field to another. We will then focus more specifically on our understanding of the strong link between the concepts of time and space, and the functioning of thermodynamics. The object of thermodynamics is basically to link two levels of understanding of the world, a more microscopic level and a more macroscopic level. Space and time are the other name for the comparison between phenomena with in a relational rationality. They can thus function differently from one level to another. They are given a broader meaning by freezing what is at a lower level in its most probable state (intervention of the entropy functi on). The choices and agreements necessary for the functioning of relational rationality make us revisit a whole s eries of notions such as equilibrium , the distinction between work and heat, irrever sibility, etc. In the light of the foregoing, we will make some remarks on some of the relationships that can be seen, under certain conditions, between thermodynamics and social sciences. What energy can be associated with a given social system? Energy c annot be defined on its own but only in a relational way: a variation of energy is in correspondence with a variation of movement. Thus, the question of defining time, space, movement, entropy, etc. for a social syst em is set accordingly . Some simple examp les will be given.
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Guy Bernard. Exploring the links between thermodynamics and social sciences: the contribution of our understanding of space and time relationships. International Conference on Thermodynamics 2.0, International Association for the Integration of Science and Engineering (IAISAE), Jun 2020, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States. ⟨hal-02939468⟩

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