- anthropic principle
- A controversial principle that allows explanation of some feature of the observed universe, by pointing out that did it not obtain we would not be here to be remarking on it. For example, if we ask why the universe began some ten thousand million years ago, the anthropic principle allows the answer that this is about the amount of time it takes for the physical and then chemical and biological complexity to develop, that ends up with persons capable of appreciating the age and asking the question (compare: why do I always see roads when I go driving?). The strong anthropic principle postulates many different universes with different structures, fundamental constants, and histories. But only ones like ours allow for us, so the answer to the question of why we find various features is, again, that we are only here because of them. To sceptics, the strong principle offends against Ockham's razor in its proliferation of universes, and it serves to shut off proper requests for more substantive explanations.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.