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Cass R. Sunstein, Historical Explanations Always Involve Counterfactual History 10 J. Phil. Hist. 433 (2016).

Abstract: Historical explanations are a form of counterfactual history. To offer an explanation of what happened, historians have to identify causes, and whenever they identify causes, they immediately conjure up a counterfactual history, a parallel world. No one doubts that there is a great deal of distance between science fiction novelists and the world’s great historians, but along an important dimension, they are playing the same game.