Title: Uncertainty in accounting knowledge: a response to the Davidsonian view of accounting

Authors: Helen Oakes

Addresses: School of Economic and Management Studies, Chancellor's Building, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK

Abstract: This paper offers a response to the Davidsonian (2001) view of accounting as objective and often certain, presented by McKernan (2007). It critiques Davidson|s (2001) portrayal of much of our knowledge as certain and also critiques the application of Davidson|s theory of certain knowledge to accounting. Instead the paper portrays accounting knowledge as complex and often linked to uncertainty, using several ideas from Derrida (1976), Merleau-Ponty (1978) and Foucault (2005). Davidson|s (2001) theory of the triangulation of knowledge is therefore seen as insufficient with respect to knowledge in general and accounting knowledge in particular. Walters| (2004) metaphorical understanding of accounting is linked with phenomenology and critical constructionism as an alternative perspective to inform accounting theory and practice. Recognition of forms of uncertainty in accounting is revealed as important in moving towards achieving the objectives of critical constructionism in accounting.

Keywords: Davidson; uncertainty; invariant; shared understanding; Merleau-Ponty; Derrida; phenomenology; critical constructionism; metaphor; experiential time; accounting knowledge; critical accounting.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2010.030337

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2010 Vol.2 No.1, pp.35 - 63

Published online: 14 Dec 2009 *

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