The Game of Probability

The Game of Probability

Rüdiger Campe (Literature, Yale University)
Wednesday, May 1 / 9:30 AM
Girvetz 1004

The probabilistic revolution in the 18th century provides a history of the relations between mathematical and rhetorical techniques, between the scientific and the aesthetic. This was a revolution that overthrew the “order of things,” notably the way that science and art positioned themselves with respect to reality, and its participants included a wide variety of people from as many walks of life. Focusing on the interpretation of games of chance as the model for probability and on the reinterpretation of aesthetic form as verisimilitude (a critical question for theoreticians of that new literary genre, the novel), the scope of Campe’s talk, through examples from German and English literature of the Enlightenment, will focus on probability’s crucial role in the constitution of modernity.

Campe is professor in German literature at Yale University and specialized in the 18th century. He is in particular interested in science and literature and his recent book The Game of Probability (Stanford University Press, 2013) revisits the eighteenth-century “probabilistic revolution”.

Sponsored by the Comparative Literature Program, the Consortium for Literature, Theory, and Culture, the Dept. of French and Italian, the Dept. of German, Slavic and Semitic Studies, the Early Modern Center, the Dept. of English, the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the IHC.