What is the philosopher's response to the anthropic principle? (which, if I recall correctly, states that the universe "had to" evolve in a certain manner, otherwise we would not be here to ask these questions about it!) Is it dismissed as basically a tautology? or is there something more substantive behind it?

It strikes me as neither a tautology nor as something that has anything "more substantive behind it." The tautological version is that the universe did come to be in such a way as we came to be a part of it. But given the number of other animals that have managed to go extinct, I see no natural necessity that the universe simply had to have us in it, or has to have us in it in the future. I reckon the universe would go on pretty much the way it goes now if we managed to go extinct, which also seems to me not just to be possible, but actually likely, long-term. Even where we happen to live, it looks to me like natural reality can get pretty rough on us at times--ask the people living on the coast of New Jersey! Not friendly at all!