Historical Social Research/ Historische Sozialforschung HSR Vol. 34 (2009) No. 2 – Special Issue: Counterfactual Thinking
Special Issue:Roland Wenzlhuemer (Ed.):Counterfactual Thinking as a Scientific Method / Kontrafaktisches Denken als wissenschaftliche Methode.& Mixed Issue (Articles, Cliometrics); 376 pages.
Counterfactual thinking is a common occurrence in everyday-life situations. What if I had bought a ticket before boarding the bus? What if I had not gone to the rock concert and never met my partner? On first glance such counterfactual thoughts appear to be nothing more than a sentimental and all too human trait. What practical use is there in thinking about alternatives of the past that have never been realized? It is, therefore, no surprise that counterfactual thinking in a scientific context has for a long time been eyed suspiciously. Can it have any analytical value to systematically think about things that have never happened and surely will never happen? While some academic disciplines such as law, economics or philosophy have answered this question in the affirmative and have employed counterfactuals as a matter of course, others – such as history or political science – have been particularly critical of the practice that has often been perceived as void of any methodological validity or analytical value.
In the last two decades, however, psychological research has demonstrated that counterfactual thinking in everyday life is more than a sentimental pastime and has clearly discernable analytical uses for the thinker. This volume brings together contributions from a variety of different disciplines and seeks to illustrate how counterfactual thinking can, indeed, be useful from a scientific perspective. It builds on the results of recent psychological research and the experiences that researchers in disciplines such as law or economics have made with counterfactual thinking. The volume ultimately seeks to highlight the common analytical ground between counterfactual thinking in everyday life and in academic contexts – particularly in the field of historical research.
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SPECIAL ISSUERoland Wenzlhuemer (Ed.):Counterfactual Thinking as a Scientific Method / Kotrafaktisches Denken als wissenschaftliche Methode..
Roland WenzlhuemerEditorial: Unpredictability, Contingency and Counterfactuals. 9
Neal J. Roese & Mike MorrisonThe Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking. 16
Roland WenzlhuemerCounterfactual Thinking as a Scientific Method. 27
Richard Ned LebowCounterfactuals, History and Fiction. 57
Georg SchmidCounterfactuals and Futures Histories. Retrospective Imagining as an Auxiliary for the Scenarios of Expectance. 74
Ann TalbotChance and Necessity in History: E.H. Carr and Leon Trotsky Compared. 88
COUNTERFACTUALS IN OTHER DISCIPLINES
Geoffrey Winthrop-YoungFallacies and Thresholds: Notes on the Early Evolution of Alternate History. 99
Helmut WeberThe ‘But For’ Test and Other Devices – The Role of Hypothetical Events in the Law. 118
Jens EnnenThe Evaluation of Welfare State Performance: Modelling a Counterfactual World. 129
Ekaterina Svetlova“Do I See What the Market Does Not See?”: Counterfactual Thinking in Financial Markets. 147
CASE STUDIES IN COUNTERFACTUAL HISTORY
Juliane SchielCrossing Paths between East and West. The Use of Counterfactual Thinking for the Concept of “Entangled Histories”. 161
Elke Ohnacker“What If ... Charlemagne’s Other Sons had survived?” Charlemagne’s Sons and the Problems of Royal Succession. 184
Sören PhilippsThe Birth of the European Union: Challenging the Myth of the Civilian Power Narrative. 203
Tobias WinnerlingInvented Formosa, the Empire of the Great Khan and Lilliput: Can 18th Century Fiction be Counterfactual? 215
Rainer Diaz-BoneKonvention, Organisation und Institution. Der institutionentheoretische Beitrag der „Économie des conventions“. 235
Bernt Schnettler & Jürgen RaabInterpretative Visual Analysis Developments: State of the Art and Pending Problems. 65
Ralf BohnsackThe Interpretation of Pictures and the Documentary Method. 296
Annette VowinckelPast Futures: From Re-enactment to the Simulation of History in Computer Games. 322
Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano FenoalteaShipbuilding in Italy, 1861-1913: The Burden of the Evidence. 333
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