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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Giving it a rest....

I tend to make a great fuss over the conceptual history of the term "accountability," and this fascination is reflected in some of my writings and presentations when I speak to the "anglican" roots of the word and its use in modern governance. When I do so I often get polite smiles or blank stares from listeners (I can imagine folks dropping off to a midday nap as they read my articles on this).

The most puzzling response to me is when a colleague asks the question that I am sure is really on everyone's mind: So what?

But I find some incentive and support in Gadamer's Truth and Method as he tackles the concept of Bildung (culture) and its 18th century roots:

Key concepts and words which we still use acquired their special stamp then, and if we are not to be swept along by language, but to strive for reasoned historical self-understanding, we must face a whole host of questions about verbal and conceptual history.... Concepts...which we take to be self-evident contain a welath of history. (p. 9)


I am inspired! Keep those pillows handy folks....
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