Thanks are due to the editors of nine books and of the American Philosophical Quarterly, the Bulletin of the Canadian Nuclear Society, Interchange, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, The Mathematical Intelligencer, Mind, Philosophia, The Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy, Religious Studies and other journals, for making space available for testing this book’s ideas. Also to my wife Jill, for constant encouragement; to the Research School of Social Sciences of the Australian National University for a visiting fellowship during which work was begun on the central theme; to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a research grant, and for airfares allowing me to attend conferences in Leningrad, Tartu and San Francisco; to various departments of philosophy, physics, astrophysics and applied mathematics, for inviting lectures and paying travel and other costs; to Belgium’s Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique for funding a term’s visitorship at the Institut d’Astrophysique, Université de Liège; and to everyone at Routledge, particularly Adrian Driscoll, Pauline Marsh and Michael Leiser, for their enthusiasm, professionalism and speediness.
Over a hundred people wrote useful letters—often very long ones—discussing the book’s arguments and above all the Carter-Leslie ‘doomsday argument’. I am particularly grateful for the letters and encouragement of J.D. Barrow, A.H. Batten, B.J. Carr, B. Carter, S.R.L. Clark, P.C.W. Davies, C. Davis, J.-P. Delahaye and all those who wrote to me in reaction to his discussion of my ideas in Pour la science (the French version of Scientific American), J. Demaret, G.F.R. Ellis, J. Ellis, G. Gale, J.R. Gott, A. Grünbaum, W. Israel, R.L. Jaffe, D. Lewis, A.D. Linde, M. Lockwood, B. McCusker, D. Mosey, G. Nerlich, C. Normore, D. Page, D. Parfit, P.J.E. Peebles, J.C. Polkinghorne,