© 2020

Viewpoint Relativism

A New Approach to Epistemological Relativism based on the Concept of Points of View


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 419)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 1-12
  3. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 13-36
  4. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 37-73
  5. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 75-103
  6. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 105-128
  7. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 129-147
  8. Antti Hautamäki
    Pages 167-187
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 189-210

About this book


This book offers new insights into truth, knowledge, and reality. It details a unique approach to epistemological relativism based on the concept of points of view. In a point of view, an aspect represents an object for a subject. By applying this concept of points of view, the author develops a consistent and adequate form of relativism, called viewpoint relativism, according to which epistemic questions like “Is X true (or justified or existing)” are viewpoint-dependent.

The monograph examines central issues related to epistemological relativism. It analyzes major arguments pro and con from different opinions. The author presents the arguments of well-known philosophers. These include such thinkers as Paul Boghossian, John Dewey, Nelson Goodman, Martin Kusch, C.I. Lewis, John MacFarlane, Hilary Putnam, W.V.O. Quine, Richard Rorty, John Searle, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the process, the author deconstructs the standard account of correspondence theory of truth.

Viewpoint relativism is a moderate relativism, which is not subjected to standard criticism of extreme relativism. This book argues that knowledge creation presupposes openness to different points of view and their comparison. It also explores the broader implications of viewpoint relativism into current debate about truth in society. The author defends a critical relativism, which accepts pluralism but is critical against all points of view. In the conclusion, he explores the relevance of viewpoint relativism to democracy by showing that the main threat of modern democratic society is not pluralism but absolutism and fundamentalism.


History of Epistemological Relativism Scientific Realism Epistemic Pluralism Relativism Ontological Relativism Perspectivism in Science contextuality of truth Critical Relativism Internal Realism Ludwig Wittgenstein Relativism Epistemic Pluralism Post-truth Era

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Social ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskylän yliopistoFinland

About the authors

Antti Hautamäki, PhD, now a professor emeritus, was in years 2009-2013 a research professor and the director of Agora Center at the University of Jyväskylä. He has been an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Helsinki from the year 1987. The focuses of his research have been epistemology, philosophical logic, and philosophy of science. Hautamäki has published and edited about thirty books and published over two hundred articles about philosophy, cognitive science and innovation.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Viewpoint Relativism
  • Book Subtitle A New Approach to Epistemological Relativism based on the Concept of Points of View
  • Authors Antti Hautamäki
  • Series Title Synthese Library
  • Series Abbreviated Title Synthese Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-34594-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-34597-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-34595-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVI, 210
  • Number of Illustrations 10 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Epistemology
    Philosophy of Science
  • Buy this book on publisher's site