American Philosophical Association

The American Philosophical Association (APA) is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work and teaching of philosophers, and to represent philosophy as a discipline.

The Association has three divisions - Pacific, Central and Eastern. Each division organizes a large annual conference. The biggest of these is the Eastern Division Meeting, which usually attracts around 2,000 philosophers and takes place in a different East Coast city each December. The Eastern Division Meeting is also the USA's largest recruitment event for philosophy jobs, with numerous universities sending teams to interview candidates for academic posts. By tradition, the two evening receptions—the first of which features free beer and wine—are referred to as 'smokers' -- a carry over from the days where everyone would be smoking. These events serve the dual purpose of informally continuing interviews and catching up with friends from across the country.

The Presidency of a Division of the American Philosophical Association is considered to be a professional honor. Recent presidents of the Eastern Division include Sally Haslanger, Linda Martín Alcoff, Paul Guyer, Edward S. Casey, Daniel Dennett, Virginia Held, John Cooper, T.M. Scanlon, Alexander Nehamas, Ernest Sosa, Jerry Fodor, Seyla Benhabib, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Christine Korsgaard, and Robert Nozick. Recent presidents of the Central Division include Steven Nadler, Margaret Atherton, Peter van Inwagen, Ted Cohen, Eleonore Stump, Karl Ameriks, Stephen Darwall, Marcia Baron, Allan Gibbard, Alvin Plantinga, Sally Sedgwick, Elliott Sober, Claudia Card and Lawrence Sklar. Recent presidents of the Pacific Division include Terence Parsons, John Martin Fischer, Alison Wylie, Calvin Normore, Jeffrie Murphy, Hubert Dreyfus, Richard Wollheim, and Paul Churchland.

The American Philosophical Association awards several prizes.[1] A prominent example is the American Philosophical Association Book Prize (formerly known as the Matchette Foundation Book Prize, one of the oldest prizes in philosophy). It is awarded biannually to the best book published in the field over a two-year period by a "younger scholar" (defined as someone age 40 or younger at the time of publication or someone who received his or her Ph.D. 10 or fewer years before the time of publication). Awarded for the first time in 2000, the Book Prize is now awarded in odd years, alternating with the Article Prize awarded in even years. The APA Book Prize has been won by such figures as David Kellogg Lewis,[2] Lawrence Sklar, Bas van Fraassen, Michael Friedman, Loran Lomasky, Paul Guyer, John Cooper, Ted Sider, and Michael Smith.[3][4] Another of the most distinguished prizes is the Royce Lectures in the philosophy of mind, awarded to a distinguished philosopher every four years. They have been delivered by Robert Stalnaker, Jerry Fodor, Hilary Putnam, Sydney Shoemaker, Saul Kripke, and Elizabeth Anscombe.[5] Another such prize is the Rockefeller Prize. The Rockefeller Prize ($1000) is awarded every two years for the best unpublished article length work in philosophy by a non-academically affiliated philosopher. The winner's work will be published in The Journal of Value Inquiry at the behest of the winner and the journal.[6]

The Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy was created in 1962 by American philosophers who were interested in Continental philosophy and were dissatisfied with the analytic approach of the APA.[7]


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