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The following are answers to some of the most-asked questions about APA meetings. If you have a question you’d like answered here, send your question to

APA meetings are run largely by volunteers (such as the program committee) and divisions are governed by their affiliated members. If you wish to see changes in the APA’s practices, we encourage you to volunteer or participate in a divisional business meeting (held at each APA meeting).

Download the Guide for APA Meeting Participants (PDF).

For information on the 2019 meetings, see the following pages:


FAQ Sections

Meeting Dates

Can the Central Division meeting dates be changed to avoid winter weather problems?

The Central Division continues to explore alternative meeting dates, but has thus far found that other times of year are significantly more expensive for meeting participants than its current dates. In order to make the meeting as affordable as possible, the division will continue meeting in mid-winter for at least the next few years.

The Pacific Division meeting often conflicts with Easter and Passover. Why does the division hold its meeting at this time, which can be difficult for those with religious observances?

The principal mission of the division is to provide a venue where philosophers can share their work, and the accessibility of the meeting to all APA constituencies is the paramount consideration in selecting dates. Unfortunately however, the APA is rarely able to compete with corporate business for hotel contracts on most dates. Nevertheless, we continue to seek dates for non-holiday meetings.

Meanwhile, program chairs make every effort to meet requests to schedule sessions to accommodate those with religious commitments and they are normally able to do so.

Can APA meetings avoid weekday sessions and focus on weekends to accommodate teachers' and students’ schedules?

To accommodate the high demand for sessions at each APA meeting, the divisions must use every time slot and inch of meeting space available, so it is unfortunately not possible to limit meeting sessions to weekends.

Meeting Locations and Hotels

How does the APA choose cities for meetings?

Few cities have hotels with enough space to accommodate APA meetings. Sites are selected based on the quantity and quality of meeting space, cost, local amenities and attractions, and the availability of airport connections. Surveys are used periodically to assess members’ preferences on meeting locations.

In addition, the APA strongly prefers only unionized hotels and avoids jurisdictions where there are policies in place that members are likely to find objectionable.

Why are meetings sometimes split between two hotels? This makes sessions in one hotel difficult to get to from the other hotel.

While we do our best to avoid splitting meeting session locations across hotels, occasionally even the large hotels selected for APA meetings do not have enough space to accommodate all the meeting sessions and activities planned. In those cases, the APA works with a nearby hotel or university to obtain additional meeting space. These secondary venues are normally within one block of the main meeting hotel so as to make it as easy as possible for attendees to move between sessions.

Why would a meeting be scheduled at a hotel that was under construction?

APA meetings are scheduled years in advance, so there is usually no way to know when we’re signing a meeting contract whether there will be construction at the time the meeting is held. As soon as we learn that a hotel will be under construction while the APA is meeting there, we work closely with the hotel to minimize the construction’s impact on our meeting and, whenever possible, make up for the inconvenience to attendees with additional benefits and offerings, such as free coffee or in-room wireless Internet access. We also inform attendees about construction and any impact we expect it to have on the meeting on the meeting page on our website.

Where do I find information on the area surrounding the meeting hotel?

The APA normally posts a list of nearby restaurants and attractions on the meeting page. In addition, the concierge at the meeting hotel can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information for the surrounding areas. You can call the hotel directly in advance of the meeting or stop by the desk during your stay.

Staying at the meeting hotel(s) is expensive. Why doesn’t the APA offer better rates on hotel rooms?

Our meetings require substantial amounts of meeting space and the hotels that have this kind of space are generally mid-priced. We negotiate the largest discounts possible off of standard rates, sometimes of more than $100 per night.

Why does the APA hold meetings at hotels instead of universities?

APA meetings are quite large and require more meeting space and hotel rooms than universities can normally make available.


Do all attendees have to register for the meeting? Why?

Yes, all those attending sessions, including invited speakers, commentators, and session chairs, are required to register. Registration fees provide the major source of funding for divisional meetings and divisional activities and also support association-wide initiatives.

Why is meeting registration so expensive?

The APA keeps its meeting registration fees as low as possible, and they are in fact much lower than many other learned societies.

For comparison, below are the 2013 Eastern and 2014 Pacific Division meetings’ registration fees as compared to other learned societies’ and professional associations’ 2013–2014 meetings:

Advance (On-Site/Regular) Registration Fees
Association Member Non-Member Student Member
American Philosophical Association $80
American Academy of Religion $150–$250
American Association of Philosophy Teachers $280
American Historical Association $164
American Political Science Association $205
Linguistic Society of America $190
Modern Language Association $160–$190

I’m unemployed or underemployed and can’t afford meeting registration. Can I get a registration discount?

APA members who are unemployed or underemployed, including retirees on fixed incomes, may be eligible to receive a partial registration fee waiver. To obtain a waiver, you must first contact You will be required to submit a letter attesting to your un(der)employed status. Waivers are only available for advance registration; no waivers will be granted after the deadline for advance registration rates (normally two weeks before a meeting).

I’m a presenter/speaker at the meeting. Do I need to register?

Yes, all attendees, including invited speakers and presenters, must register for APA meetings.

I do not plan to stay for the entire length of the meeting. Do you offer a one-day registration fee?

No. The meeting registration fee is the same no matter how many days you attend. 

I registered for the meeting but cannot attend. Can I get a refund?

The APA has a no-refund policy. This policy was adopted by all three divisions because of the administrative burden on the APA to issue the large numbers of refunds that were regularly requested prior to the policy's implementation. Rather than providing refunds, we allow attendees to register at the advance registration rates until shortly before the meeting begins, and we encourage anyone with concerns about being able to attend to take advantage of this.

My spouse/family member wants to attend the session in which I’m presenting. S/he isn’t a philosopher and only wants to attend that one session. Does s/he need to register for the meeting?

Program participants’ non-philosopher spouses and family members who wish to attend only the session(s) at which their spouse or family member is a speaker or presenter are eligible for single-session registration at no charge. The registered program participant must bring the spouse/family member to the registration desk to request a guest pass for that specific session.

Program participants’ non-philosopher spouses and family members who wish to attend any sessions other than those at which their spouse or family member is a speaker or presenter are required to register for the meeting at the appropriate APA member or non-member rate.

I would like my spouse/family member to join me at the evening reception(s). Is this possible?

Yes, guests may attend receptions if accompanied by a registered meeting participant.

I have a group of students (high school or undergraduate) who want to attend the conference. How does that work? 

Contact the appropriate division as described below at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.

For the Central Division meeting, local undergraduate and high school students may register for free. To get this special registration, contact

For the Eastern Division meeting, special arrangements for student groups may be made by contacting the Eastern Division’s secretary-treasurer, Jeff Dunn, at

For the Pacific Division meeting, a fund is available to defray registration costs for needy students. Contact the Pacific Division’s secretary-treasurer, Rebecca (Becko) Copenhaver, at for more information.

How can I get a copy of the receipt for my meeting registration?

You will receive a receipt by email upon completing your registration. If you cannot locate that email, see below.

If you are an APA member, sign in to your member profile on the APA website, then click “Manage Profile” on the right side of the screen. Under “Invoicing, Payments & History,” click on “Invoices.” Make sure the “Store & Events” tab is highlighted and then filter by “Shipped/Closed.” Click on the icon to view or print the invoice.

If you are not an APA member, contact to obtain a copy of your meeting registration receipt. 

Why do I need to wear my name badge?

Registration fees cover the costs of putting on the meeting, and as such, only those who have registered are permitted to attend meeting events.

Your name badge is your proof of registration, and we require that you wear it whenever attending a meeting session or event. If you are not wearing a name badge during a meeting session or event, you may be asked to put it on or otherwise present proof of registration; if you do not, you will be asked to leave immediately.

I misplaced my program/name badge. Can I get a replacement?

Replacement programs and name badges are available at the registration desk. There is a $5 fee for a replacement badge or program. 

Meeting Sessions and Events

Why aren’t the session locations available before the meeting?

Meeting sessions are open only to registered attendees. Because the online program available in advance of the meeting is publicly accessible, it does not include session locations. Registered meeting attendees will receive a hard copy meeting program, which includes all session locations, at the registration desk.

I have a session at the same time that registration opens. How can I find out where it is?

The locations of any meeting sessions scheduled at or prior to the opening of registration are posted on signage in the registration area.

If you register for the meeting online, you will receive an email providing information about accessing Guidebook, our meeting app for smartphones (and also available in any standard web browser). Session locations are available in the app beginning the first day of the meeting.

Abstracts used to be printed in the program, but now they aren’t. Where can I find them?

Abstracts of presented papers are now available online and in the mobile meeting app. You will find a link to the abstracts on the meeting page on the APA website.

I see that there are “Main Program” sessions and “Group Program” sessions. What’s the difference?

All events on the Main Program (also known as the Divisional Program) are organized by the APA through the meeting’s program committee or other APA committees. Sessions on the Group Program (also known as the Affiliated Group Program) are organized by groups and societies affiliated with the APA and those groups and societies have sole responsibility for the content of those sessions.

What is the difference between a symposium and a colloquium?

At APA meetings, a colloquium consists of three (or sometimes two) submitted papers, each presented in a one-hour session with a commentator. Symposia can be invited or submitted. A typical invited symposium is a three-hour session featuring two longer papers with a single commentator or one longer paper with two commentators, though other formats may occur. Submitted symposia are normally two-hour sessions consisting of a single submitted paper (about twice the length of a colloquium paper) and one or two commentators.

How can I find all of the sessions on a particular topic?

At the moment, we don’t index meeting sessions based on topic. However, we are currently exploring ways to make this kind of index available in the future.

Why are sessions of similar interest sometimes scheduled at overlapping or conflicting times?

While we make every effort to avoid such conflicts, it is often impossible to do so. Sessions are scheduled to accommodate special scheduling requests from program participants while also trying to minimize conflicts and make the best use of available meeting space. Unfortunately, some conflicts are inevitable.

What are my duties as session chair?

As session chair, you are responsible for guiding the session speakers, keeping time, and facilitating the question and answer portion. Prior to the meeting, chairs of sessions on the main program normally receive messages from the secretary-treasurer of the division hosting the meeting with additional details and instructions.

Pacific Division meeting participants should refer to that division’s Instructions for Program Participants.

I’m not able to attend the meeting, but I’d like to get a copy of the program. How can I do this?

A PDF version of the meeting program is available on our website for free. To purchase a printed copy of the program, after the meeting, go to the division’s page on the APA website. Under “Recent Meetings,” you will find a link to purchase a print copy of the program.

Meeting sessions often go late into the evening. Why is this?

There is great demand for sessions at APA meetings. In order to accommodate as many sessions as possible, some sessions must be scheduled during evening hours.

My group/society would like to host sessions at APA meetings. How do we do this?

To host sessions at an APA meeting, a group/society must hold affiliated group status with the APA. To apply for affiliated group status and for more information, see our page on Affiliated Groups.

What is the purpose of the receptions?

Receptions, which are sometimes informally known as “smokers” (dating back to the years when smoking was permitted in the reception hall), are an opportunity for attendees to network and socialize. They offer opportunities to catch up with current and former colleagues, get to know others in the profession, and have some informal downtime after a long day of doing philosophy. Most APA meetings have two large evening receptions, one on each of the busiest days of the meeting.

In addition, other small receptions occur throughout the meeting. For example, the Eastern Division meeting includes the annual prize reception honoring winners of APA prizes.

Why aren’t there more/longer breaks between sessions?

The meeting schedules are designed to maximize opportunities for members to present their work. The APA’s first priority is to include as many scholars in the meeting as possible, and scheduling additional or longer breaks would mean reducing the number of participants on the program.

Will coffee and tea be served throughout the meeting?

Usually not. Water stations are available throughout the meeting, however, and occasionally coffee and tea breaks are provided by meeting sponsors. We also suggest patronizing the coffee shops and snack bars in and around the meeting hotel.

Internet and A/V

AV Information Center

For detailed information on audiovisual equipment usage including fees, adapters, and deadlines, please see our AV Information Center.

It is important review this information in advance of your session.

How can I find out if my session will have an audiovisual setup (e.g., projector, screen, microphone, whiteboard, flipchart?)

For main program sessions, contact For committee and group program sessions, contact the committee chair or society/group primary contact.

The Pacific Division also posts a list of sessions with A/V support on the APA website in advance of the meeting.

How do I request an AV setup?

There is an online AV request form for each meeting. You can find a link to this form on the meeting page on the APA website.

Is there a deadline for AV requests?

Yes. The AV request form for each meeting specifies the request deadline. Divisional program participants, committee chairs, and primary group contacts will receive information about AV requests by email.

Who can request an AV setup for a session?

Any divisional program participant can request an AV setup for a session in which s/he is participating. For committee and group sessions, only the committee chair and primary group contact may request an AV setup. If you are a participant in a committee or group session and you require an AV setup for your presentation, contact the committee chair or primary group contact.

How much does AV support cost?

The cost depends on what kind of support you need. The cost for using an APA projector and screen setup is expected to be about $150 for the 2017 divisional meetings. The cost for other kinds of AV support, such as microphones, flip charts, and overhead projectors, is set by the meeting hotel and varies from meeting to meeting.

The APA covers AV support costs for divisional program sessions, if requested in advance (see the deadline on the AV request form). Groups and committees are responsible for any AV costs for their sessions.

What is included in an APA projector and screen setup?

An APA projector and screen setup includes the following:

  • Epson EX3220 projector (quick start sheet included)
  • Epson 3000 free-standing collapsible screen (6 ft. tall; adjustable to standard 4:3, widescreen 16:9, or widescreen 16:10 ratio)
  • Portable table for the projector

APA staff will bring the equipment to the room and can assist with setting up the equipment as needed. Contact information for the APA’s AV support staff can be found in the AV equipment cases.

Can the APA provide a laptop for a session?

Presenters must bring their own laptops. We do not have laptops available for rental at this time.

What platforms can I use to connect to the projector?

The projector setup works with PC or Mac. The computer must have a VGA or HDMI port. If using a Mac, we strongly recommend you bring your own VGA or HDMI adapter. The APA has a limited number of Mac adapters available, but we cannot guarantee availability for a particular session or compatibility with any particular Mac.

What operating systems will work with the projector?

All versions of Windows, OS X, and Linux will work with the projector.

Can I connect my smartphone or tablet to the projector?

Yes, but you will need to provide a VGA or HDMI connector cable for it.

Can I request a microphone setup for my session?

Yes, but availability depends on the meeting hotel. There may be also an additional charge for this. Use the AV request form to submit a request for a microphone, and the APA meeting staff will contact you if there is any issue.

Can I request Internet access for my session?

Yes, but keep in mind that Internet connections can be very expensive—hundreds of dollars for a single connection. We do not normally provide Internet connections for divisional program sessions, though you can contact us at to inquire about a special exception. If you wish to request an Internet connection for your group or committee session, you will be responsible for the additional cost.

Can I request audio speakers for my session?

Yes, we can provide basic computer speakers if included in the original AV request for your session. If you need to connect to the room’s speaker system (if it has one), that requires special arrangements and may incur additional charges. The APA covers these charges for divisional program sessions, but groups and committees are responsible for these charges for their sessions.

When will the equipment be delivered?

Equipment will be delivered approximately 15 minutes before the session starts.

What kind of connectors can I use to connect to projector?

One VGA and one HDMI cable are included with each projector setup.

Please note that if you plan to use a Mac to connect to the projector, you must bring your own adapter cable to connect via VGA or HDMI. The APA has a limited number of Mac adapters available, but we cannot guarantee availability for a particular session or compatibility with any particular Mac.

Who do I contact for technical support?

Contact information for the APA’s onsite support staff is included on the AV setup sheet and on the equipment cases.

Can an AV support staff member stay through my session in case of any problems?

Due to the limited number of staff and the number of sessions going on at a given time, AV support staff are unable to stay through entire sessions. If you encounter a technical problem during your session, contact any of the support numbers provided and an APA AV support staff member will respond as quickly as possible.

What do I do with the equipment when my session is over?

Leave the equipment in the room; you do not need to break it down. APA staff will pick up the equipment after your session is over.

What if I need some other AV setup not mentioned above?

At the time you request an AV setup, indicate the kind of other AV support you need and an APA staff member will contact you to make appropriate arrangements. Note that it is not always possible to honor requests for non-standard AV services, but APA staff will make every effort to accommodate your request.

What if I missed the deadline for AV requests? What if I need to request an AV setup onsite?

We cannot guarantee that AV requests made after the deadline, in

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