Can we justifiably assume the cosmological principle in order to break model underdetermination in cosmology?

If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid underdetermination in cosmology. Various strategies to justify the CP are examined. For instance, arguments to the effect that the truth of the CP follows generically from a large set of initial conditions; an inference to the best explanation; and an inductive strategy are assessed. I conclude that a convincing justification of the CP has not yet been established, but this claim is contingent on a number of results that may have to be revised in the future.
Keywords Cosmology  Cosmological principle  Space-time  Underdetermination  General theory of relativity
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References found in this work BETA
Claus Beisbart & Tobias Jung (2006). Privileged, Typical, or Not Even That? – Our Place in the World According to the Copernican and the Cosmological Principles. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):225 - 256.
Richard Boyd (1984). Scientific Realism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
John Earman (1993). Underdetermination, Realism, and Reason. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):19-38.

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Citations of this work BETA
Jeremy Butterfield (2012). Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):1-18.
Jeremy Butterfield (2014). On Under-Determination in Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 46 (1):57-69.
Brigitte Falkenburg (2014). On the Contributions of Astroparticle Physics to Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 46 (1):97-108.
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