Causal Explanation and Historical Meaning: How to Solve the Problem of the Specific Historical Relation Between Events

History is no mere chronicle of events. This insight of Arthur C. Danto’s (often misunderstood) discussion of the concept of history implies that the historical meaning of a past event can change in the course of time – simply because of what happens afterwards. If we hold, however, that history has a real structure and that the historical meaning of past events is determined by the causal and temporal structure of these events, then we have to be able to show how the historical meaning of past events can be causally explained. And how can this be shown without presupposing the highly controversial thesis of backward causation? After discussing Danto’s thesis at some length, I argue first very generally in favour of a counterfactual analysis of causality and, second, that an expansion or revision of this analysis can solve the problem of this specific historical relation between events.