### Thermodynamics as a Substantive and Formal Theory for the Analysis of Economic and Biological Systems

Sousa, T. 2007
*Thermodynamics as a Substantive and Formal Theory for the Analysis
of Economic and Biological Systems.*
PhD-thesis, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (2007/02/07) & Technical
University of Lisbon (2007/02/07)

Nederlandse versie
#### Abstract

In this dissertation, we use thermodynamic theory to analyse
biological and economic systems, according to two methodological
approaches. The substantive integration is a methodological approach
that consists of making two different fields physically compatible
either by reformulating current theories or by building up new
theory. Thermodynamics must be compatible with the theories that
explain and describe economic and biological systems because
thermodynamic laws impose constraints on mass, energy and entropy
flows. A formal analogy is a methodological approach that consists of
the development of an isomorphism between the mathematical formalisms
of different fields. Thermodynamics has a solid mathematical formal
structure that describes equilibrium, non-equilibrium and
self-organized systems that should be common to thermodynamics,
biological and economic systems. In this dissertation, we concentrate
on the substantive integration between non-equilibrium thermodynamics
and biological systems described by the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB)
theory and on the formal analogy between equilibrium thermodynamics
and economic systems described by the neoclassical economic theory. We
also build a more systematic description of DEB theory as an
intermediate step to a future substantive integration between
thermodynamics, economics and biology.
Keywords: Thermodynamics, Formal Analogy, Substantive Integration,
Dynamic Energy Budget Theory and Neoclassical Microeconomics

This symposium concludes my project

Tânia's project page