How Political Should the APA Be?


An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses whether professional academic organizations should take overt stances on the political issues of the day. The American Philosophical Association is not mentioned in the article, though others are, such as the American Economic Association, the American Political Science Association, and the American History Association. The AEA “will take no partisan attitude, nor will it commit its members to any position on practical economic questions,” while the AHA has developed “a series of guiding principles to help figure out when it should take a public stance.”

While the APA has made various statements related to issues in the profession, as far as I can recall it has not issued any public pronouncements or resolutions on current political matters. Should the APA be more political, and if so how?

Relatedly: section 5.5.D of the APA’s bylaws says: “Resolutions which purport to represent the sense of a division on matters of public policy may be voted on only by mail ballot authorized by the annual business meeting of that division. Such mail ballots will include relevant minutes of the meeting and a summary of the arguments presented.”

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