Privileged, typical, or not even that? – Our place in the world according to the copernican and the cosmological principles

Abstract
If we are to constrain our place in the world, two principles are often appealed to in science. According to the Copernican Principle, we do not occupy a privileged position within the Universe. The Cosmological Principle, on the other hand, says that our observations would roughly be the same, if we were located at any other place in the Universe. In our paper we analyze these principles from a logical and philosophical point of view. We show how they are related, how they can be supported and what use is made of them. Our main results are: 1. There is a logical gap between both principles insofar as the Cosmological Principle is significantly stronger than the Copernican Principle. 2. A step that is often taken for establishing the Cosmological Principle on the base of the Copernican Principle and observations is not incontestable as it stands, but can be supplemented with a different argument. 3. The Cosmological Principle might be crucial for cosmology to the extent it is not supported by empirical evidence
Keywords Cosmology  Cosmological Principle  Copernican Principle
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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 (forthcoming). On Under-Determination in Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
Brigitte Falkenburg (forthcoming). On the Contributions of Astroparticle Physics to Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
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