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This paper is intended to restate the case for the development of an "ethical theory of accountability" as an alternative to current theoretical frames being applied by students of accountable governance. I would emphasize the word "alternative" at this juncture, noting that an ethical theory should not be regarded as replacement for current models; rather it is offered as a reframing of accountability that can provide a significantly different perspective -- one rooted in (and built upon) ontologically distinct presuppositions about the nature of account-giving/receiving.

Central to the effort is establishing accountability as the capacity to engage in account-giving/receiving behavior triggered by the human need to deal with problematic conditions involving social interactions where there exists a regard and respect for the reaction of others. This reconceptualization of accountability represents a major ontological shift and is supported by both the move to a second-person standpoint and acceptance of the Strawsonian view that ethical behavior is grounded in reactive attitudes inherent in interpersonal activity.


Political science, public administration

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Conference Proceeding