پرورش تخیل : اخلاق، آموزش و ادبیات
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1606||2009||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 20, Issue 1, February 2009, Pages 93–109
The purpose of this paper is to first critique approaches to ethics education based on the application of frameworks and models for ethical decision making. We argue that underlying such approaches is a number of assumptions which fail to fully capture the nature of ethics and the nature of the individual and suggest that when applied in the classroom such would only offer limited possibilities for developing students’ moral and imaginative capacities. The paper then offers an alternative perspective of the nature of the individual and the link between the self and the ethical. Rather than regarding the individual as an autonomous decision maker who sporadically interacts with the ethical domain we, following Dewey, J. (1983, 1987 [Dewey J. Human nature and conduct. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press; 1983; Dewey J. Art as experience. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press; 1987]) conceive of the individual as a self in the making and suggest a closer nexus between the individual and the ethical. In this paper ethics is seen as permeating all aspects of our lives and always being relevant. For Dewey, imagination is at the core or moral inquiry and based on this perspective we make a case for using literature and stories for ethics education. We discuss the role of fiction in cultivating the moral imagination (Dewey, 1983, 1987; Fesmire, 2003 [Fesmire S. John Dewey and moral imagination: pragmatism in ethics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press; 2003]), and show why teaching ethics through literature is likely to yield more fruitful results than approaches based solely on frameworks and models.
With the disclosure of various corporate accounting scandals and continuing restatements of previously issued financial results, a heightened interest in the connections between accounting and ethics has emerged once more.1 This interest contributed to the passage of new rules such as the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley legislation (U.S. Public Law 107–204) in an effort to alter certain accounting and auditing practices. This legislation included several provisions including one that attempted to enhance the “truthfulness” of corporate financial statements by requiring chief financial officers to certify that SEC filings presented fairly corporate results and financial condition and contained no untrue information or omission of material facts. Another provision tried to buttress the independence of auditors (and their willingness to question auditee accounting practices) by enacting rules to ban the provision of specific consulting products for auditees. Interest also turned towards the presentation and discussion of ethics within the business classroom. Sims and Felton (2006) for instance point out that “in Jan 2003 the AACSB proposed new standards suggesting that schools make teaching ethics a higher priority and move ethics to ‘first and foremost’ topical importance” (p. 29). More relevant to this paper has been the response by accounting regulators and educators to this call for increasing the teaching of ethics in the accounting classroom. Of particular note is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy's (NASBA) recent exposure draft that proposed altering the coursework requirements for individuals who wish to take the CPA examination. These new requirements would specifically include six credit hours of coursework on ethics: “Education in ethical and professional responsibilities” means a program of learning that provides potential professional accountants with a framework of professional values, ethics and attitudes for exercising professional judgment and for acting in an ethical manner that is in the best interest of the public and the profession. This includes a commitment to comply with the codes of ethical conduct of State Boards of Accountancy and all those entities and organizations, including federal and state government entities and agencies, that promulgate standards of acceptable conduct. The process of ethics education should begin with broad philosophical concepts, followed by the application of these concepts in the world of business and accounting. An acceptable program of learning shall be as follows: (1) Three SCH in Ethical and Professional Responsibilities of CPAs; and (2) Three SCH in Ethical Foundations and Applications in Business.” (Proposed Rule 5.1(g) from NASBA web site.) Undoubtedly, an increased emphasis upon moral and ethical concepts and reasoning processes may prove beneficial to students. Greater attention to these may help our students (and us) to clarify and examine our approaches in resolving difficult issues. We can each likely recall instances in which we would have made different (and perhaps better) choices if we had better understood the mesh of conflicting obligations that constitutes our lives. While we agree that greater attention to ethics and morality can be helpful, we believe that the NASBA proposal with its insistence upon providing a “framework for exercising professional judgment” implicitly advocates a limited perspective for the purposes of ethics education, one that may limit the possible positive effects of such emphases for facilitating the development of our students’ critical and imaginative capacities. In the next section, we outline some assumptions about ethics and the individual implicit in the NASBA proposal's emphasis upon a framework and application of concepts. As well, we explore and discuss the limits associated with such an approach. We then contrast this approach with an alternative that envisions the individual as a self-in-the-making and stresses the importance of cultivating moral imagination. After outlining this alternative perspective, we explore some of its implications for ethics education and the potentialities for incorporating literature into our accounting classrooms to assist in cultivating moral imagination. Finally we close the paper with a few concluding comments.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We want the safety net of prescriptions, blanket measures, action items, and bulleted lists. Unfortunately, there is no generic prescription for the present moment” (Glazer, 1999, 188). In this paper, we have discussed the limits of applying frameworks and models in evaluating ethical issues in accounting. Models such as the one proposed by Langenderfer and Rockness (1989) tend to result in the separation of moments and domains into the ethical and non-ethical and presume the ready saliency of certain situations as posing ethical dilemmas. They also presume the autonomy of the individual and ignore the interaction between individuals, relationships and institutions. They ill-prepare the user for the ambiguity of “facts” and the inexhaustibility of alternatives. By presuming that values are given, such models may foreclose questions about their propriety in varying contexts. We have advocated adopting a different perspective about the individual and about ethics that may prove useful for discussing ethics with accounting and other business students. Rather than focusing upon the individual as a rule-follower, we can conceive of the individual as an unfinished project—a self in the making. With this change in perspective, the question relevant to ethical reflection and inquiry becomes what sort of the self is in the making. This perspective invites us to engage with issues regarding what it means to live well rather than focusing mainly upon the rule to follow or choice to make within an isolated context. Adopting this perspective requires us to assign a greater importance to the cultivation of imagination in accounting education. We have argued that literature can play a significant role in this cultivation. After all, literature can expand our set of experiences and help us to recognize our own limitations. It can provide us with insights into the ways that others have dealt with conflicting obligations and responsibilities and affords the opportunity to explore the significance of emotions in decision-making contexts. Finally, literature encourages us to recognize that each moment is an ethical moment that may affect the remainder of our lives. We are not the first to recognize literature's vast potential in the ethical enterprise. Indeed many before us have strongly advocated its use and the use of other narrative material (e.g., film, plays and short stories) in the teaching ethics (see for instance Coles (1989), Dooley (1980), Giacalone and Jurkieweicz (2001), Kennedy and Lawton (1992), Lauder (2002), McAdams (1993), McAdams and Koppensteiner (1992), Shepard et al. (n.d.), Weisberg and Duffin (1995) and Vitz (1990)). Some have even shared their experiences of how they have incorporated these media into their ethics courses (Giacalone and Jurkieweicz, 2001, McAdams, 1993, McAdams and Koppensteiner, 1992, Shepard et al., n.d. and Weisberg and Duffin, 1995). Unlike many of these authors however, we see literature and other forms of narrative material (plays, short stories and film) as playing a more fundamental role in education for ethics. Rather than merely providing richer illustrations of the application of ethical principles (Kennedy and Lawton, 1992 and Shepard et al., n.d.) or supplying more nuanced accounts of ethical dilemmas in specific professional contexts such as law and medicine (Weisberg and Duffin, 1995) or business (McAdams and Koppensteiner, 1992), we see literature as playing a central role in transforming the unfinished self. In other words and to paraphrase Van Hooft (2001, 92) for us literature's role in ethical education is more about securing a commitment to ethical principles and values rather than achieving a familiarity with them. Taylor (1989) maintains that our notions of the good and conceptions of society are closely connected to the narratives or stories we use to make sense of our lives. New understandings of good and new understandings of appropriate social bonds require different stories. By focusing upon the possible and expanding our set of experiences, literature invites us to wonder about ourselves (Nussbaum, 1995). As we are exposed to multiple possibilities, we begin to see alternatives to the “is” of our lives. Our traditions, habits, and previously unquestioned ways of thinking seem less obvious than before. Through exposure to other ways of thinking, other habits and other traditions, the naturalness and taken-for-grantedness of our ways of thinking and traditions are undermined. We are enabled to question their continuing aptness and relevance. Nussbaum (1997, 54) maintains; “Ethical inquiry requires a climate in which the young [and old] are encouraged to be critical of their habits and conventions, and such critical inquiry, in turn, requires awareness that life contains other possibilities.” If therefore we accept that a central question in ethics is “what sort of person am I becoming”, then discussions about ethics in accounting classes should be less focused upon training students to recite their responsibilities and more focused upon helping them to evaluate this question within various contexts including work. We are not arguing that accounting courses should ignore concepts of professional responsibility, rules of professional conduct or rules for financial reporting. Knowledge of these concepts and rules is still important as they help us to focus our thinking. Rules of all types serve an economizing function (Fesmire, 2003) and provide temporary stability to daily life (Pappas, 1998). By supplying “a standpoint for surveying a situation” (Rockefeller, 1991, 419), rules guide us in suggesting what issues we need to consider within a particular situation. They also contain advice about the possible courses of action that we may consider appropriate. However, the rules must be applied within variable, ambiguous and frequently chaotic situations and rules rarely provide unambiguous answers regarding the specific action or non-action that is appropriate within a concrete, particular situation (Johnson, 1993). In short therefore we are advocating an approach to ethical education which in recognizing the imaginative as a central component of ethical living seeks to broaden extant approaches to teaching ethics rather than displace them. In arguing the case for teaching ethics through literature, we are not unaware of the practical problems – including likely resistances – that such a proposition would likely imply prompting questions such as “How do we include literature into what is an already over-crowded technical curriculum? How will our students deal with discussing what stories mean to them instead of discussing impersonal debits and credits? How will our instructors be able to break out of the embedded routines of their teaching life and try something dramatically different?” Though addressing these questions is quite beyond the scope of this paper, what we do have in mind in arguing the case for literature, involves a more radical change in our approach to educating would-be accounting professionals than these questions presume. What we have in mind thus is an approach to accounting education that at its core rejects the increasingly technical/vocational curriculum that is being imparted by contemporary accounting departments. We are convinced of the need for a fundamental restructuring not only of accounting education but business education more generally and hope that the perspective on ethics offered here would initiate some dialogue as well as a critical re-examination of the orientation and content of our current programs.