Recent advances in the theory of dynamical systems, set-valued analysis, and viability
theory offer new and interesting perspectives on the shaping of social and historical time.
Specific aspects of these theories are presented in several different areas to show their concrete
applications in history and historical demo-economy, and a parallel is established
with novelist Tanizaki’s fictional technique. In connection with this, McCloskey’s 1991
comparison of storytelling with deterministic chaos is discussed and a critique of other
models concerned with unpredictability in human affairs provided. Finally, the shapings
of social and historical time are described in terms of the viable strategies at the heart of
evolutionary processes involving human agents interacting with a variety of constraints.