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The Ways We Wonder “What If?”

The Ways We Wonder “What If?” In this essay, I seek to refine our understanding of historical counterfactuals by classifying them into a new typology. After providing a systematic definition of counterfactuals, I divide them up into five different categories: causal, emotive, temporal, spatial, and manneristic. Within each of these categories, I identify eighteen different types of counterfactuals, which I classify with descriptive names and illustrate with specific examples from recent works of historiography. The different types of counterfactuals vary in numerous ways, but they are all linked by their rhetorical elements. These elements, in turn, help explain the present-day popularity of wondering how history might have been different. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Philosophy of History Brill

The Ways We Wonder “What If?”

Journal of the Philosophy of History , Volume 10 (3): 382 – Nov 17, 2016

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Historiographic Counterfactuals and the Philosophy of Historiography
ISSN
1872-261X
eISSN
1872-2636
DOI
10.1163/18722636-12341343
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this essay, I seek to refine our understanding of historical counterfactuals by classifying them into a new typology. After providing a systematic definition of counterfactuals, I divide them up into five different categories: causal, emotive, temporal, spatial, and manneristic. Within each of these categories, I identify eighteen different types of counterfactuals, which I classify with descriptive names and illustrate with specific examples from recent works of historiography. The different types of counterfactuals vary in numerous ways, but they are all linked by their rhetorical elements. These elements, in turn, help explain the present-day popularity of wondering how history might have been different.

Journal

Journal of the Philosophy of HistoryBrill

Published: Nov 17, 2016

Keywords: counterfactual history; alternate history; rhetoric

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