Chance and Determinism
Seminar by Georg Trogemann and Lasse Scherffig
SS 2009, Workshop June 11 – 20 in Motovun, Croatia
Combined with a workshop that was held in Motovun, Croatia in cooperation with Bauhaus University Weimar, Ursula Damm during the summer term 2009. On our way to Croatia we took the chance and visited for two days the Biennale in Venedig. (Our first practial application of »chance«.) SS 09, Workshop from June 11 – 20 in Motovun, Croatia. The place was actually more like a camp than a proper accommodation. It turned out that we were to many people for this small house and that the working possibilities were quite restricted. Thus it became a very theoretical seminar. But we had numerous fertile discussions and a great exchange with the students from Weimar. At night Lasse did some exciting satellite watching experiments.
Today, we no longer see the world as a deterministic clockwork and life as God-given fate. What happens to us on the large scale obeys statistical rules and thus strict mathematics, but for the individual, chance is a creative element of everyday reality. In the sciences as well as in individual life planning, it is no longer a matter of eliminating chance from the world, but of recognizing it as a necessity and using it as a source of scope for action. A central role for the practical handling of chance is played by the concept of probability, with the help of which the range of alternative possibilities is systematically opened up. Probability describes what is not necessarily true, even if it is not false. The everyday handling of this contradictory form of reality requires what Robert Musil calls the sense of possibility (Möglichkeitssinn). Just as the fictional imaginary worlds of literature and film influence our real decisions, conversely, mathematical statistics, opinion polls and economic forecasts are essential parameters for our conceptions of reality today. The temporal parallelism between fictional literature and mathematical probability, which both appeared in the 17th century, is therefore no coincidence. The workshop will theoretically as well as practically deal with the concepts of coincidence in art, science and the reality of everyday life.