Seen from the systemic viewpoint, classical thermodynamics presents serious limitations, which have been expressed as follows by I. PRIGOGINE: "… classical thermodynamics is an admirable but fragmentary doctrine… This fragmentary character results from the fact that it is applicable only to states of equilibrium in closed systems. It is necessary therefore to establish a broader theory, comprising states of non-equilibrium as well as those of equilibrium" (1978).
E. ZERBST notes that: "These states of equilibrium are "memoryless" (KATCHALSKY); dead ends of dynamic processes" (1972, p.71). This also implies that even a homeostatic system, which is open, finally reaches a state (death!), where it has lost any remembrance of its former functionality.
The essential point is that the concept of closed system allows for ambiguous and even erroneous interpretations. In general, but more precisely so in thermodynamics, it would indeed be better to speak about "isolated system system", i.e. a system that interacts in no way (exchanging no matter, energy or information) with any environment. It is only in such a system that the 2nd Principle of classical thermodynamics can be applied without interferences and lead the system to its final state of total random homogeneity, in which entropy has reached it maximum and no free energy is anymore available to perform any kind of work. At that state one cannot anymore speak of a system, in view that any concrete system is characterized by its heterogeneity, its structures and its functional aptitudes.
L. BRILLOUIN even stated that the 2nd Law is also useless for the study of many purely physical systems, which has since been confirmed by PRIGOGINE and his school's research on a number of physical and chemical reactions.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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