Being in accounting for a time



Publication Details

Gaffikin, M. (2009). Being in accounting for a time. In J. Baxter & C. Poullaos (Eds.), Practices, profession and pedagogy in accounting: essays in honour of Bill Birkett (pp. 55-77). Sydney: Sydney University Press.


Consistent with Bill Birkett’s predilection for confronting orthodoxy and dogma this chapter reflects on the work of Martin Heidegger and its implications for accounting. For most of his working life Heidegger was absorbed with the problem of ’being’— the essence of existence — something which, he argued, Western philosophers, since Aristotle, had ignored, being more concerned with understanding and explaining 'things'-independent entities. By trying to understand being he believed that we could get a greater understanding of knowledge of the world and our place in it. It is suggested in this paper that, like other 'disciplines', accounting has ignored this essential self-reflection which has resulted in its dependence on intellectual activities in other, related hut separate, disciplines leaving accounting in an intellectual vacuum. This has resulted from the domination in Anglophone societies of modernist preconceptions and analytical philosophy as distinct from a more phenomenological hermeneutic orientation which would seem more suited to understanding in the human and social sciences.

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Sydney University Press

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