In hmolscience, Beg analysis, aka Beg-Mirowski-Foley analysis (BMF analysis), refers to the analysis of the work, theory, or publication of a humanities author or speaker by "key term" usage dominance, with focus on scientific terms; see: terms, terminology, and terminology reform; a method pioneered by Mirza Beg (1974) in business management, Philip Mirowski (1989) in economics, and Duncan Foley (1991) in government.
In 1984, Mirza Beg, a Pakistani organometallic chemist, was nominated to attend a business leadership course, funded by the National Institute of Public Health, Karachi, Pakistan, during the course of which, as he began to take notes, he focused in on “key terms” each speaker was using, particularly the core “terms” related to physics and chemistry, being used by speakers who were humanities majors, mostly in business management; Beg comments on this experience as follows:
- “In 1974, I was nominated to attend an advanced training course at the National Institute of Public Administration, Karachi. As a chemist working on the fundamental aspects of coordination and organometallic chemistry, it seemed odd and totally unrelated to me. However, the first lecture by [management scientist] Ahmed Mumtaz was quite polarizing when he said that if the lectures during the following weeks could create a disturbance, even though slight, in the thinking of the participants, the objectives of the course would be attained and this led me to take the course with an open mind. I devoted quite a bit of my time to the course material picking up points related to chemistry and interpreting them in physico-chemical terms, wherever possible. A peculiar feature of the course was that the lecturers were using terms like polarization, activation, potential energy, complexes, compounds, perhaps metaphorically and in an unrelated context. This compelled me to ask some of them if they were aware of the real sense of the terminologies which have actually been borrowed from chemistry or material sciences. As expected, they had no clue to them and this prompted me to write a few notes, related physico-chemical terminologies to those of human behavior. I was encouraged in doing so by Dr. Ahsan Siddiqui, the then deputy director of the Institute, who thought it would be a valuable contribution to the field of sociology.”
The above notes where mimeographed and they appeared as a booklet Human Behaviour in Scientific Terminology in 1976. Four papers were published out of this booklet in local journals. This attempt at “correction” and proper re-presentation scientific terms used in the humanities, culminated in the 1987 book New Dimensions in Sociology: a Physio-Chemical Approach to Human Behavior.
In 1989, Philip Mirowski, a physicist, after doing the same thing in economics, after reading paper after paper where economists were abusing the concept of “conservation of energy” in economic argument, published his More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics.
In 1991, Duncan Foley, after ruminating for many years on the “extraordinary wealth of mechanical references in American politics”, published the book Laws, Men and Machines: Modern American Government and the Appeal of Newtonian Mechanics.
In 2014, Libb Thims, having read Beg, Mirowski, and Foley, and also having begun, sometime since Google Books was launched (c.2007), to go through and tabulated key term usage count in various “social Principia” like books, in order to compare and rank the various “social Newtons”, began to refer to analysis of books by key term usage dominance as “Beg analysis”.
- Beg, Mirza. (2019). “Beg Interview”, Day 1.3 (YT) (“Beg analysis”, 9:30-19:30; quote, 11:15-11:28), Karachi, Pakistan, Sep 16.
- Beg, Mirza Arshad Ali. (1987). New Dimensions in Sociology: a Physico-Chemical Approach to Human Behavior (abs) (intro) (pdf, annotations by Libb Thims, 2014). Karachi: The Hamdard Foundation.
- Beg analysis – Hmolpedia 2020.