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Copernicus, Kant, and the Anthropic Cosmological Principles

Roush, Sherrilyn (2003) Copernicus, Kant, and the Anthropic Cosmological Principles. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 34 (1). pp. 5-35.

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Abstract

In the last three decades several cosmological principles and styles of reasoning termed ‘anthropic’ have been introduced into physics research and popular accounts of the universe and human beings’ place in it. I discuss the circumstances of ‘fine tuning’ that have motivated this development, and what is common among the principles. I examine the two primary principles, and find a sharp difference between these ‘Weak’ and ‘Strong’ varieties: contrary to the view of the progenitors that all anthropic principles represent a departure from Copernicanism in cosmology, the Weak Anthropic Principle is an instance of Copernicanism. It has close affinities with the step of Copernicus that Immanuel Kant took himself to be imitating in the ‘critical’ turn that gave rise to the Critique of Pure Reason. I conclude that the fact that a way of going about natural science mentions human beings is not sufficient reason to think that it is a subjective approach; in fact, it may need to mention human beings in order to be objective.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Roush, Sherrilynsherri.roush@gmail.com
Keywords: Fine-tuning, Copernican, Kantian, Anthropic Principle, Cosmological Principle, explanation, selection effect, many-world hypothesis, cosmology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Sherrilyn Roush
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 02:32
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 02:32
Item ID: 17382
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2003
Page Range: pp. 5-35
Volume: 34
Number: 1
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17382

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