Not all authors are the ones they appear to be.
Not only do some authors write under pseudonyms,
but some writings are ascribed to others
by someone other than the author.
The motivations for this vary, but they usually involve
an idea of magnifying the importance of the writing.
This can even take place when the modification does harm to the work,
historically, intellectually, or perhaps metaphysically (in terms of what the reader
believes if the reader is omniscient).
A case example is Nathan Coppedge's Golden Notebook.
The text appeared in a book ascribed to Leibniz dated 1990 - 2000.
But Nathan Coppedge believes he wrote a better version of the text in 2004.
What Nathan Coppedge calls the Golden Notebook is labeled only 'Notebook J'
in Hollingdale's translation. Confusingly, the immeditely previous 'Notebook I,'
a short (1 - 2 page) writing that is total garbage, had been labeled the Golden Notebook instead.
Nathan remembers writing an earlier piece that was total garbage, and labeling it 'the golden notebook' in order to fool his audience, so that he could claim credit. But he had no idea that it would appear in a work by the prestigious Mr. Hollingdale (whoever he actually is).
The alternate hypothesis would be if Nathan was making notes on Hollingdale's book,
and made the realization that Notebook J was closer to being a golden notebook.
However, Nathan does not remember having had the Lichtenberg book in his possession.
From Nathan's point of view, the book looks like a later forgery. But perhaps Nathan simply has an inventive memory.
Another example is less believable, but also interesting.
Nathan remembers a past life as Marie Antoinette.
In this life, he was actually conscripted as a spy to work for the British.
During the course of her life in France, Antoinette succeeded in replacing the Queen,
but eventually forgot her entire connection to Britain.
This type of hypothesis proposes that subterfuge is what overthrew the French nobility.
It also explains how unlikable Marie Antoinette was as a person, and her odd
relationship with her hairdresser.
Nathan Coppedge also think he may have been a man named Todd Oxbridge who
migrated to America from Britain to become a spy.
He took what he took to be a completely opposite name, (Aaron Burr), and was
eventually elected president of the United States, but didn't serve in office, because he
considered it dishonorable for a spy.
These kinds of stories seem odd, but at the same time, perhaps they have some truth!
Why is the Golden Notebook called the Golden Notebook if it was not written by Marie Antoinette?
Why was Aaron Burr the only president not to serve while he was in office, and what other reason was there for this than some sort of dishonorable activity?
And who knows or has proposed these things except Nathan Coppedge?
It is this kind of almost trivial, yet almost convincing argumentation that makes for real alternate history.
There is some indicator that Socrates was obsessed with Mt. Etna. Perhaps this is the real story of Socrates' life, and explains why he doesn't have extant writings. Perhaps he made writings of a terrific quality, and threw them in to appease the gods.