George Zipf

George ZipfIn existographies, George Zipf (1902-1950) (CR:10) was an American “empiric social scientist”, as he defined himself, noted for his 1949 Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort, which was cited by American astrophysicist and social physicist John Q. Stewart as being the work of an investigator keenly aware of the necessity and advantages of cutting across academic boundaries, such as in the sociology | physics academic boundary. [1]

Power laws
Zipf is noted for his statement that:

“Hyperbolic distributions are to the social sciences what the Gaussian distribution is to the physical sciences.”

A hyperbolic distribution, according to American-born Italian chemical physicist Bernard Lavenda, has a probability density of the following form: [5]

 f(x) = \frac{1}{x^{D+1}} \,

where D is referred to as the characteristic exponent and x is scaled variable whose minimum value is unity, and equation having the form of a "power law" which finds applicability economics of wealth distributions (Pareto principle), among other fields such as linguistics, Zipf's usage, and taxonomy.

Principle of least effort
See main: Principle of least effort
The principle of least effort (or least action) was used by Francis Edgeworth (1881) according to which he found that maximum pleasure was associated with maximum of physical energy and therefore of least expense or least effort. Leon Winiarski, in 1903, is said to have made the principle of least effort the "basis of social science". [4]

In this group, Zipf, in his in his 1949 book Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort, is said to have given the preeminent "mechanistic model of behavior." [4] Zipf's theory is the postulate that animals, people, even well designed machines will naturally choose the path of least resistance or "effort."

The following is a noted quote from Zipf about his so-called principle of least effort: [3]

“Each individual will adopt a course of action that will involve the expenditure of the probably least average of his work (by definition, least effort).”

In modern hmolscience terms, however, something about this seems to be off or amiss here in this statement—the old saying “I’d climb the highest mountain” being but one example that seems contrary to Zipf’s principle. The subject of free energy coupling, only compounds clarification.

Zipf’s law
The recent social thermodynamics work of Gregory Botanes uses Zipf’s law in his applied human thermodynamics theories. [2]

References
1. (a) Zipf, George. (1949). Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort: An Introduction to Human Ecology. Cambridge.
(b) Stewart, John Q. (1950). “The Development of Social Physics” (abs), Invited paper before The American Association of Physics Teachers, Brinckerhoff Theater, Columbia University, Feb 3; in: American Journal of Physics, May 1950, 18: 239-53.
2. Zipf’s law – Wikipedia.
3. (a) Zipf, George. (1949). Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort: An Introduction to Human Ecology (pg. 18). Addison-Wesley.
(b) Quotes by George Kingsely Zipf – StrangeWondrous.net.
4. Berthe, Benedicte and Renault, Michel. (2001). “Economic Analysis of Human Effort in Organizations: an Historical and Critical Perspective”, in: Evolution and Path Dependence in Economic Ideas: Past and Present (editors: Pierre Garrouste and Stavros Ioannides) (§9, Lausanne school, Winiarski, pg. 184). Edward Elgar Publishing.
5. (a) Lavenda, Bernard H. (1995). Thermodynamics of Extremes (pg. 2). Horwood Publishing.
(b) Bernard H. Lavenda – Wikipedia.

External links
‚óŹ George Zipf – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns

More pages