Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 225–256 | Cite as

Privileged, Typical, or not even that? – Our Place in the World According to the Copernican and the Cosmological Principles

  • Claus BeisbartEmail author
  • Tobias Jung


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.


Cosmology Cosmological Principle Copernican Principle 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Philosophy, Faculty 14University of DortmundDortmundGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Philosophie und WissenschaftstheorieUniversität AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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