Transforming the World

through Mathematics

Thematic Einstein Forum

Lecture Series

Winter Semester 2022/2023

In the lecture series Models of Time and Probability”, experts from mathematics (dynamical systems, analysis, probability theory, applications and modelling, biomathematics) and from literary studies (narratology, rhetoric, literary history and philosophy) will give lectures to an open audience. 

The lecture series is part of the Thematic Einstein ForumScales of Temporality: Modeling Time and Predictability in the Literary and the Mathematical Sciences”


17.11. Stephan Hartmann (LMU München, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy) – Reasoning in Physics: The Bayesian Approach
8.12. Anne Eusterschulte (FU Berlin, EXC 2020) – The Salient and The Floating Point – Generating Literature by Mathematics
5.1. Manfred Laubichler (Arizona State University / MPIWG) – Time and History in Biological and Cultural Evolution
12.1. Jürgen Jost (Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MiS) in Leipzig) – The Concepts of Time in the Sciences
Hannes Leitgeb (LMU München, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy) – Mathematical Philosophy: Past, Present, Future
26.1. Xue-Mei Li (Imperial College London / EPFL Lausanne) – Noise and Scales
2.2 Paul Hager (HU Berlin) – Time Scales in Rough Volatility



Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU Munich): Reasoning in Physics: The Bayesian Approach 

In recent centuries, physics has greatly influenced the way philosophers have thought about the scientific method and the nature of good scientific reasoning. Generations of philosophers have aimed to taxonomize, formalize, and evaluate these patterns of argumentation. While this has been an extremely fruitful task, the major challenges facing physics today have led to fundamental changes in the way physicists formulate, evaluate, and apply their theories. The most prominent examples of this trend are found in the field of contemporary fundamental physics, where many of the most influential theories are beyond the reach of existing experimental methods and are therefore extremely difficult to test empirically. Now, the fact that entire communities of physicists have spent so much time and effort evaluating theories that are largely disconnected from experiment and empirical testing suggests that existing philosophical accounts of the epistemology of physics, based on a largely empiricist conception of physics, are no longer entirely accurate, or at least somewhat outdated. This, in turn, suggests that it is time to draw attention to and analyze the distinctive justificatory strategies of contemporary physics. In this talk, I will discuss these recent developments and show that the Bayesian framework is flexible enough to reconstruct and evaluate the proposed reasoning strategies. This points the way to a clarification of the epistemic structure of contemporary physics and, furthermore, shows how philosophers can constructively engage in methodological discussions within physics on an equal footing.


Anne Eusterschulte (FU Berlin, EXC 2020): The Salient and The Floating Point – Generating Literature by Mathematics

In modernist literature, aleatory procedures, algorithms, and mathematical methods of generating poetic texts play a major role. The tension between chance and combinatorics, between calculation, anticipation,and unpredictability already points to temporal dimensions of literary production. In many cases, the adaptations of mathematical procedures refer to early modern procedures and take up concepts of the mathematical generation of text or techniques of poetic world-making. Here, the mathematical point as a dynamic or floating point comes into play, or the idea of living mathematics which is structurally transferred to literary production. We will address these temporal dimensions of the mathematically based generation of texts in the early modern contexts and discuss the interferences of literature and mathematics.


Manfred D. Laubichler (ASU, SFI, MPIWG): Time and History in Biological and Cultural Evolution

Evolutionary sciences are often referred to as historical sciences. But while they can be used to reconstruct the past, their underlying explanations often do not fully account for the historical nature of evolutionary processes. This is especially true for mathematical representations of evolutionary processes. In this talk I will focus on the relationship between time and history in evolutionary processes and their conceptual and formal representations.


Jürgen Jost (Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MiS) in Leipzig): The Concepts of Time in the Sciences

The various sciences, like physics, biology or the neurosciences, conceptualize time differently. I shall discuss these time concepts, their properties and their shortcomings.


Hannes Leitgeb (LMU München, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy): Mathematical Philosophy: Past, Present, Future

Mathematical/formal philosophy“ refers to the application of logical and mathematical methods to philosophical problems and questions. In recent decades, this mathematical way of doing philosophy has become a great success story. The talk will explain why this is so, how mathematics can be applied in philosophy, and what the future of mathematical philosophy might be like. Some of the examples in the talk will relate to the “models of time and probability“ theme of the lecture series.


Xue-Mei Li (Imperial College London / EPFL Lausanne) – Noise and Scales

At the mention of white noise, we perceive the picture of TV noise: snow flicks on a not well tuned channel. Noise or randomness has proven to be useful in mathematical models.
But what are white noise?  Noise or randomness has their own characteristics. What makes noise  catching a colour? 
Magnitudes, sizes, and time don’t change with units used for measuring them. 
They have intrinsic values — or do they? 
In this talk we discuss mathematical models of random evolutions in which these concepts are at the center of our hypothesis.

Organizational detail
6 pm at ZIB, Takustr. 7,14195 Berlin (for online link register by email to