Preprint Article Version 4 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Contextual Foundation for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Evolution

Version 1 : Received: 19 July 2020 / Approved: 20 July 2020 / Online: 20 July 2020 (11:35:07 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 17 August 2020 / Approved: 20 August 2020 / Online: 20 August 2020 (09:18:59 CEST)
Version 3 : Received: 1 December 2020 / Approved: 2 December 2020 / Online: 2 December 2020 (11:02:52 CET)
Version 4 : Received: 17 February 2021 / Approved: 18 February 2021 / Online: 18 February 2021 (10:33:37 CET)
Version 5 : Received: 6 March 2021 / Approved: 8 March 2021 / Online: 8 March 2021 (13:48:36 CET)
Version 6 : Received: 19 June 2021 / Approved: 2 July 2021 / Online: 2 July 2021 (14:26:03 CEST)

How to cite: Crecraft, H. A Contextual Foundation for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Evolution. Preprints 2020, 2020070469. Crecraft, H. A Contextual Foundation for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Evolution. Preprints 2020, 2020070469.


The prevailing interpretations of physics are based on deeply entrenched assumptions, rooted in classical mechanics. Logical implications include: the denial of entropy and irreversible change as fundamental physical properties; the inability to explain random quantum measurements or nonlocality without untestable metaphysical implications; and the inability to define complexity or explain its evolution. We propose a conceptual model based on empirically justifiable assumptions. The WYSIWYG Conceptual Model (WCM) assumes no hidden properties: “What You can See Is What You Get.” The WCM defines a system’s state in the context of its actual ambient background, and it extends existing models of physical reality by defining entropy and exergy as objective contextual properties of state. The WCM establishes the irreversible production of entropy and the Second law of thermodynamics as a fundamental law of physics. It defines a dissipative system’s measurable rate of internal work as an objective measure of stability of its dissipative process. A dissipative system can follow either of two paths toward higher stability: it can 1) increase its rate of exergy supply or 2) utilize existing exergy supplies better to increase its internal work rate and functional complexity. These paths guide the evolution of both living and non-living systems.


Physical Foundations; Quantum mechanics; Nonlocality; Time; Entropy; Complexity; Origin of Life


Physical Sciences, Acoustics

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 18 February 2021
Commenter: Harrison Crecraft
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: In response to reviewers’ comments, Version 4 emphasizes the conceptual model’s assumptions, and the article’s discussion is more focused on the specific issues raised in the introduction. The model’s assumption of no hidden variables is promoted to Postulate 1. To emphasize the preeminence of this assumption, the conceptual model is rebranded the WYSIWYG Conceptual Model (WCM): “What You can See Is What You Get.” Other changes to the model’s assumptions are making clear distinctions among postulates, definitions, and validated empirical facts. The introduction extends its discussion of existing conceptual models to include hidden variables, superdeterminism, and stochastic models. Other sections have been reorganized for improved clarity and conciseness.
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