Copernicus, Kant, and the anthropic cosmological principles

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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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Archival date: 2020-07-02
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2009-01-28

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