Definition of anthropic principle in US English:

anthropic principle


  • The cosmological principle that theories of the universe are constrained by the necessity to allow human existence.

    In its ‘weak’ form the principle affirms that a universe in which living observers cannot exist is inherently unobservable. ‘Strong’ forms take this line of reasoning further, seeking to explain features of the universe as being so because they are necessary for human existence

    • ‘Yet some scientists - though certainly not all - are convinced that the anthropic principle has intrinsic scientific worth.’
    • ‘Both gentlemen believe the anthropic principle strongly suggests an ultimate purpose to the universe.’
    • ‘In the United States the cosmologists don't like the idea of the anthropic principle at all.’
    • ‘The anthropic principle has given much weight to the theory of intelligent design.’
    • ‘The insights of the anthropic principle have taught us that the laws of nature, from the big bang onward, had to take a very specific form if the evolution of life were ever to be a possibility.’


1970s: anthropic from Greek anthrōpikos, from anthrōpos ‘human being’.


anthropic principle

/anˌTHräpik ˈprinsəp(ə)l/