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This Tier III course examines the application of the concept of entropy to human society as a whole, through the critical reading and discussion of works by Jeremy Rifkin and Bernard Cohen.
Energy is conserved, but most physical processes involve transformations of available energy into forms not as readily available. Jeremy Rifkin claims that civilized humanity should reorder its priorities so that increases of entropy, which characterize such transformations, should be minimized.
In order to provide adequate technical background to evaluate Rifkin's theses, several topics in the physical sciences are presented in some detail.
Students in the course discuss whether broad generalizations of such a principle make sense.
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