Tisza, Laszlo (1992) The harmony of educational and logical priorities in thermodynamics. Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti, Classe di Scienze FF. MM. NN., LXX . pp. 15-32.
atti_3_1992_13.pdf - Submitted Version
The postulational presentation of the macroscopic thermodynamics of equilibrium (MTE) was guided by pedagogical concerns. Subsequent study turned toward identifying the logical basis for the pragmatic success of MTE. The condition of conceptual clarity is the definition of concepts which mediate between reliable experiment and rigorous mathematics. Such a definition is achieved in terms of an “interpreted deductive system” which may be considered as a device to construct from an input of primitive mathematical concepts and postulates an output of derived concepts and theorems which is related to experiments over a specified domain, MTE is indeed a logical configuration of this sort. Another of its characteristic features is that its experimental background includes chemistry. It is suggested that the proper relation between the disciplines is that physics is to provide the universal concepts in terms of which chemical processes can be accounted for. This concept formation worked well during the last century: an outstanding example is the entropy concept. A new instance of concept formation presented here for the first time is the “principle of chemical determinism” as the logical basis for the Nernst theorem.
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