First published July 1 2016
Nonequilibrium thermodynamic stability: the apparent teleology of living beings
Among physical systems, living beings are usually thought of as the only genuinely teleological natural systems. In this paper, I argue that the alleged teleology of living beings is not a real property but only an appearance, behind which what really exists is a complex version of stability. The complexity of living beings as stable systems has to do mainly, though not exclusively, so I argue, with the fact that living beings are dissipative structures which obey the thermodynamic principle of maximum entropy production.