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Articulating Accounting Principles: Classical Accounting Theory as the Pursuit of ‘Explanation By Embodiment’

Rutherford, Brian A. (2016) Articulating Accounting Principles: Classical Accounting Theory as the Pursuit of ‘Explanation By Embodiment’. Journal of Applied Accounting Research, 17 (2). pp. 118-135. ISSN 0967-5426. (doi:10.1108/JAAR-01-2014-0017) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JAAR-01-2014-0017

Abstract

Purpose - The objective of this paper is to provide a soundly-based epistemological underpinning for the kind of theorisation in which many classical financial accounting researchers engaged and thus to support a renewal of this programme. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on pragmatist philosophy and, in particular, on Jules Coleman’s theory of ‘explanation by embodiment’. The applicability of this theory to the world of financial reporting is discussed. Various theorists and schools within classical accounting theory are examined from the perspective of Coleman’s ideas, focusing particularly on A.C. Littleton’s Structure of Accounting Theory. Findings - The paper finds that classical accounting research works such as Structure of Accounting Theory can be interpreted as the search for Colemanian explanation by embodiment and that this provides them with a soundly-based pragmatist underpinning for their theorisation. Research limitations/implications – This paper supports the resumption by academics, qua academics, of work to contribute to accounting standard-setting by offering argumentation that addresses accounting principles and methods directly, rather than only via the social scientific investigation of behaviour in the accounting arena. Practical implications – Such a resumption would contribute positively to future standard-setting. Originality/value - This paper contributes to the defence of classical financial accounting research from the charge of lacking theoretical rigour.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JAAR-01-2014-0017
Uncontrolled keywords: Pragmatism; Jules Coleman; explanation by embodiment, classical accounting theory, positive-inductive school, A.C. Littleton
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School > Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: B. Rutherford
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2016 11:44 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:34 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56283 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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