There is no adequate definition of ?Fine-tuned for life?

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):341 – 351 (2000)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The discovery that the universe is fine-tuned for life ? a discovery to which the phrase ?the anthropic principle? is often applied ? has prompted much extra-cosmic speculation by philosophers, theologians, and theoretical physicists. Such speculation is referred to as extra-cosmic because an inference is made to the existence either of one unobservable entity that is distinct from the cosmos and any of its parts (God) or of many such entities (multiple universes). In this article a case is mounted for the sceptical position that cosmic fine-tuning does not support an inference to anything extra-cosmic. To that end three definitions of ?fine-tuned for life? are proposed: the ?slight difference? definition, the (unconditional) probability definition, and John Leslie?s conditional probability definition. These three definitions are the only ones suggested by the relevant literature on fine-tuning and the anthropic principle. Since on none of them do claims of fine-tuning warrant an inference to something extracosmic, it is concluded that there is no definition of ?fine-tuned for life? serving this function.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,069

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

387 (#54,607)

6 months
23 (#124,937)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Neil A. Manson
University of Mississippi

Citations of this work

The fine-tuning argument.Neil A. Manson - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):271-286.
Should we care about fine-tuning?Jeffrey Koperski - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):303-319.
Finely Tuned Models Sacrifice Explanatory Depth.Feraz Azhar & Abraham Loeb - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (5):1-36.
Fine-Tuned of Necessity?Ben Page - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (4):663-692.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The anthropic cosmological principle.John D. Barrow - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Frank J. Tipler.
Universes.John Leslie - 1989 - New York: Routledge.
The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.J. J. C. Smart - 1987 - Philosophical Quarterly 37 (149):463-466.
Universes.John Leslie - 1989 - London: Routledge.

View all 14 references / Add more references