Support the APA!

Here’s an important message from Sally Haslanger:

As you may know, the APA has been going through some important and positive changes. I have just returned from the November Board of Officers meeting and believe there is tremendous good will for improving the situation for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in the profession.

However, one major roadblock is that the APA is still barely breaking even financially (which is better than it was before!). We need a strong National Office in order to make positive change, but a strong National Office that is positioned to take action costs money.

I realize that in the recent past many have stopped renewing their membership to the APA (or have never become members at all). This is totally understandable. I urge you, however, to become a member (or renew) at this crucial time. Your membership may be tax deductible, and in some schools you can be reimbursed for the cost. Here is the membership link:

Even more to the point, the new APA website has an option that allows you to make donations to a fund for diversity and inclusiveness.
So far, very few have taken advantage of this opportunity. But this is where we can really make a difference. Small (and large!) contributions add up. Donations will go to supporting proposals that the APA is not currently in a position to fund. If you are an APA member, you will also soon be notified of a Request for Proposals from the APA to support substantial efforts to address these issues.

Please consider making a donation and, through your networks, urge others to do so as well. You may not be positioned to organize a program that increases diversity and inclusiveness – few of us are! – but let us together support those who can make a difference to our profession.

Thanks, in advance,
President, Eastern APA

Some good advice

The wonderful Math Babe has some really great advice for a student who’s worried she isn’t ‘good at math’ because she isn’t fast at math. Replace talk of math with talk of philosophy and this makes some damn good advice for philosophy as well.

Ignore your surroundings, ignore the math competitions, and especially ignore the annoying kids who care about doing fast math. They will slowly recede as you go to college and as high school algebra gives way to college algebra and then Galois Theory. As the math gets awesomer, the speed gets slower.

And in terms of your identity, let yourself fancy yourself a mathematician, or an astronaut, or an engineer, or whatever, because you don’t have to know exactly what it’ll be yet. But promise me you’ll take some math major courses, some real ones like Galois Theory (take Galois Theory!) and for goodness sakes don’t close off any options because of some false definition of “good at math” or because some dude (or possibly dudette) needs to care about knowing everything quickly. Believe me, as you know more you will realize more and more how little you know.

One last thing. Math is not a competitive sport. It’s one of the only existing truly crowd-sourced projects of society, and that makes it highly collaborative and community-oriented, even if the awards and prizes and media narratives about “precocious geniuses” would have you believing the opposite. And once again, it’s been around a long time and is patient to be added to by you when you have the love and time and will to do so.


I know a lot of great philosophers who are fast philosophers. I know a lot of great philosophers who are slow philosophers. And I know a whole spectrum in between. But it frustrates the hell out of me when I hear it said of a philosopher that he – almost invariably he – is ‘just so fast!’ like it’s some intellectual virtue I should care about.