Title: Principles and rules: the open question argument and normative imperatives

Authors: Alex Arthur

Addresses: Business School, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY, UK

Abstract: The |rules vs. principles| debate reappearing in the accounting literature has parallels in many disciplines and thematic links to many more. The purpose of this paper is to consider some of these links and to suggest an explanatory taxonomy based on the |open question argument| drawn from analytic philosophy and some distinctions made by algorithmic theorists. This framework helps to explain some empirical findings and, perhaps, lends credibility to professional preconceptions (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, 2006).

Keywords: rules; principles; regulation; financial reporting; standard setting; analytic philosophy; jurisprudence; algorithmics; language; truth; open question argument; paradox; Wittgenstein; normative imperatives.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2009.028058

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2009 Vol.1 No.4, pp.313 - 326

Published online: 03 Sep 2009 *

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