Anthropic Reasoning in Cosmology: A Historical Perspective

In Formale Teleologie Und Kausalitã¤T in der Physik. Mentis Verlag (2005)
The catchy term "anthropic cosmological principle" embraces a medley of arguments ranging from a mere observation selection effect (the universe must not be such to rule out our existence) to design arguments and an explicit cosmic teleology. This narrow focus neglects that anthropic reasoning reaches back even to late 19th century pre-relativistic physics--at about the same time when there was renewed interest in the principle of least action--and that it emerged in the context of speculations about the cosmological consequences of the second law of thermodynamics. Stefano Bettini’s contribution offers a historical tour through the various applications of the design argument until Carter enunciated the anthropic principle in the context of a very specific physical problem. Subsuming anthropic reasoning under formal teleology, accordingly, does not require invoking any kind of cosmic purpose. Rather, fine-tuning represents a variation argument that distinguishes the actual universe am
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